The Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office has cleared a San Jose police officer in the shooting death of an armed suspect during a planned traffic stop 15 months ago.
Sgt. Lee Tassio “lawfully shot and killed a wanted suspect who was struggling with another officer and trying to shoot him,” according to a press release from the DA’s office announcing results of the investigation.
The shooting occurred after Tassio and Officer Matthew Rodriguez made a traffic stop of a vehicle driven by the father of Andrew Roberts, 29, of Aptos, on Nov. 19, 2019, as part of a planned operation on Highway 85 near Winchester Boulevard.
After Roberts was identified as being wanted for a no-bail active warrant for evading police, police say they ordered him to get out of the vehicle.
Roberts refused to comply and fought with Rodriguez for about 30 seconds, according to the press release. Roberts pulled a gun and in the struggle with Rodriguez tried to fire his own stolen handgun and tried to grab Tassio’s gun.
When Tassio saw that Rodriguez was losing his control of Roberts’ gun, Tassio warned Roberts that he would shoot, the statement reported.
Authorities say Tassio used a stun gun on the suspect, to no effect, before using his gun to fire a single, close-range shot that killed Roberts.
Deputy District Attorney Rob Baker, the lead author of the 24-page public report, issued the following statement:
“What we know about this tragic case is that on Nov. 9, 2019, Andrew Roberts was solely responsible for putting SJPD Sgt. Lee Tassio into a position where he had no other choice but to use deadly force to protect his life and the lives of other officers, and the use of that force was necessary and reasonable under the circumstances.”
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