For release on December 7, 2020
Deputy District Attorney
DA Report: SJPD Officers Lawfully Shot and Killed Man
Who Murdered Pedestrian, Attacked Officers
Three San Jose police officers lawfully shot and killed a transient who had just stabbed to death a 51-year-old pedestrian on his morning walk, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has determined.
Horrified motorists who saw the morning stabbing near the SAP Center in downtown San Jose pinned Armando Salvatierra in between three of their cars.
Salvatierra refused to surrender to responding police, and after being struck by non-lethal beanbags, came at the officers with the knife.
Prosecutor Robert Baker concluded in the 29-page public report: “Armando Salvatierra, after killing an unarmed man in broad daylight, gave responding police officers no choice but to shoot him. He ignored the loud and express commands of the officers to drop the knife and surrender. Only after non-lethal force proved ineffective, and he closed to within 15 feet of the officers while armed with a bloody knife, did the police resort to deadly force.”
The District Attorney’s Office investigates all fatal law enforcement encounters to determine if the lethal force was legal. By law, officers are allowed to use deadly force when they or others are faced with imminent danger.
On May 3, 2020, at approximately 8:16 a.m., Salvatierra chased down and stabbed to death Lawrence Taylor in the middle of an intersection near the SAP Center. Three motorists who saw the attack used their cars to push Salvatierra away from the victim and pin him between their vehicles until police arrived. Once police were on the scene, Salvatierra was released by the vehicles and ordered to drop the bloody knife he held in his right hand. After several warnings, he was shot with less-than-lethal stun bag shotgun rounds, causing him to drop to one knee. After being hit by four stun bags, Salvatierra stood up and turned toward the officers. He continued to ignore their urgent pleas to drop the knife and began walking toward them with the weapon still in his right hand, which was captured with an officer’s body worn camera. When Salvatierra got within 15 feet, Officers James Barnard, Oscar Medina, and Armando Ramos opened fire with their duty weapons, killing him.
When Salvatierra stabbed the man to death and was shot, he was on probation for felony assault.