SUNNYVALE (CBS SF) – Three Sunnyvale public safety officers who shot and killed a 300-pound, knife-wielding man in 2015 will not face charges, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.
Moises Nerio, 42, was shot 12 times after 18th-year Lt. Daniel Pistor and rookie officers Sean Mula and Barron Renzi responded on Nov. 12, 2015, to a report that Nerio had tried to rape his half-sister in their shared apartment on Ayala Drive.
Nerio, who was drunk and suffered from bipolar disorder, grabbed a 13-inch knife from the kitchen when officers asked him to leave the apartment and talk with them, according to the 44-page report by the district attorney’s office.
The suspect approached Mula with the knife as the officer stood in the doorway 10 to 15 feet away as Renzi and Pistor stood on the patio, watching through the blinds of the sliding glass door.
The officers ordered Nerio about 40 times to drop the knife before they shot him while he stood about 7 feet away from Mula. The commands can be heard in Mula’s body camera audio recording, which was released by the district attorney’s office.
“I don’t want to hurt you. Put the knife down. It’s not worth it. Drop the knife. We can get through this,” Mula can be heard saying in the recording.
Nerio can be heard on the recording repeatedly saying, “Just do it.”
Renzi said he thought Nerio may have wanted to commit “suicide by cop,” according to the district attorney’s office report.
Pistor shot seven rounds, Mula shot nine and Renzi shot eight at 12:18 p.m.
City and county paramedics responded at 12:19 p.m. to treat Nerio’s wounds. He arrived at 1:07 p.m. in an ambulance at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, where he died at 1:21 p.m.
Nerio was found to have a blood-alcohol level of .426, over 5 times the legal limit to drive a car, according to the district attorney’s office.
The three officers were separated after the shooting without speaking to each other before giving statements to detectives. They did not read any police reports or listen to any recorded statements, including the audio caught on Mula’s body camera, prosecutors said.
“They were confronted by a man who not only failed repeatedly to yield to the lawful orders of police, but escalated the situation by grabbing a 13-inch knife and advancing toward PSO Mula,” Deputy District Attorney Lindsay Walsh said in a statement.
“They were left with no other reasonable option, under the totality of the circumstances, but to fire their weapon at Mr. Nerio until he no longer posed a threat to them,” Walsh said.
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