For release on February 26, 2019
Stacey Capps, Assistant District Attorney
DA REPORT: SDPS OFFICER LAWFULLY KILLED MAN WHO STABBED WOMAN, POLICE DOG
A Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety officer lawfully shot and killed a man who had stabbed his ex-girlfriend and, after barricading himself inside her home, threw a knife at officers.
During the October 31, 2017 barricade, Jesus Contreras Jr., 25, fatally stabbed a police dog.
The 32-page report written by Assistant District Attorney Stacey Capps says: “The law allows Lt. (Emmett) Larkin to fire his weapon in defense of others (and himself) until the suspect no longer posed an imminent threat. Lt. Larkin’s belief the suspect posed an imminent threat was clearly reasonable given the suspect’s words, stabbing of Jane Doe, assaultive actions toward the officers and the fact he had already stabbed the canine.”
The District Attorney’s Office investigates all fatal law enforcement encounters to determine if the lethal force was legal. By law, officers can use deadly force when they or others are faced with imminent danger.
Around 1:00 p.m., Sunnyvale officers were dispatched to an apartment on Weddell Drive on a report of a domestic related stabbing. Officers found the victim nearby with a knife wound to her stomach. She told officers that Contreras had told her he would “cut her to pieces,” stabbed her and barricaded himself in her home. She said that Contreras was on parole and did not want to go back to jail. She said: He “was either going out dead or..” After unsuccessfully attempting to get Contreras to surrender, a police dog, Jax, was sent into the residence. Contreras stabbed the canine numerous times. Jax’s handling officer ran into the residence to rescue his dog. Several other officers followed and attempted to convince the suspect to surrender. Contreras, who continually refused to surrender and verbally challenged the officers, threw a knife at Lt. Larkin, striking him on his arm. The officer fired his weapon twice, striking Contreras once, mortally. The incident was captured on body-worn camera footage.
In the bathroom where he had barricaded himself, officers found three other knives and another in his back pocket.
A toxicology test of Mr. Contreras’s blood revealed the presence of methamphetamine, amphetamine, and THC.