SAN JOSE -- Authorities said a veteran San Jose State police sergeant was the officer who shot and killed a man who reportedly charged at another officer with a knife in an off-campus confrontation Friday, according to the San Jose Police Department.
Sgt. Mike Santos, who has served with the University Police Department for 15 years, is on paid administrative leave as SJPD homicide detectives conduct an investigation monitored by the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, which is routine policy after an officer-involved shooting.
Investigators revealed Tuesday that the knife recovered after the shooting was a 12-inch saw blade typically used for cutting drywall.
According to SJPD, which is investigating the shooting because it happened off campus, San Jose State police were alerted around 11 a.m. that a man was seen on campus holding a large knife. Santos and another officer spotted the man and followed, and by the time they could contact him, he had already crossed the campus's southern border toward South Eighth and San Salvador streets.
The officers ordered the man to drop the knife to no avail, police said. One officer tried to subdue him by firing his Taser from a distance but had no effect.
Police say that's when the man charged toward the officer "with the knife raised," which prompted Santos to open fire at the man, who was hit at least once and fell to the ground.
The officers and emergency personnel performed CPR on the man before he was taken to Valley Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. His identity has not been released pending notification of his family.
The shooting upset many in the neighborhood. At least two people who were in the area said they did not hear the officers' commands to the man before they heard the zap of a Taser and what sounded like two gunshots. And at least one of the bullets fired by the sergeant sailed through the upstairs bedroom window of a nearby sorority house, terrifying a group of students inside.
That was startling and frustrating for Deno Milano, a Foster City resident whose daughter was among those in the bedroom. He has contacted the university demanding officials be more forthcoming to explain how a ground-level fight ended up endangering his child, who was in a second-floor room across the street.
"I support the officer defending himself, and maybe when the facts come out, it'll make more sense. Right now it's not adding up," Milano said. "Saying the truth is not going to jeopardize the investigation or prosecution."
Anyone with information about the case can contact San Jose police at 408-277-5283 or leave a tip with Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers at 408-947-STOP (7867) or with svcrimestoppers.org.
Contact Robert Salonga at 408-920-5002. Follow him at Twitter.com/robertsalonga.