SAN JOSE (KPIX) — Police chief Eddie Garcia took time Friday to praise the heroism of Santa Clara County Sheriff’s deputies and a UPS driver after an “armed and desperate violent felon” was killed in a tense hostage standoff on a San Jose street.
The suspect, who was identified by family members as Mark Morasky, was shot once by law enforcement in a parking lot as he ran from the UPS truck and toward a San Jose police officer carrying a loaded shotgun.
A female suspect with him, 23-year-old San Jose resident Joanna Maye Macy-Rogers, has been booked into Santa Clara County Jail on charges of the attempted murder of a San Jose police officer, carjacking, kidnapping and shooting at an occupied vehicle. Garcia said it was Macy-Rogers who fired shots at deputies, hitting their patrol car.
“Any [officer-involved shooting] is tragic but, in this particular case, it didn’t end as peacefully as we would have wanted but no officers or civilians were injured by an armed and desperate violent felon,” the chief said.
Garcia also praised the sheriff’s deputies who were fired upon by the suspect as they were trying to pull him over during the wild pursuit.
“It’s another example that nothing is routine on this job,” he told reporters. “Going out to give someone a parking ticket to then later to be fired upon four separate times — they stayed in the fight to the very end. They make every law enforcement officer proud.”
Garcia said the UPS driver remained calm even through he was being threatened by a gun and “purposefully drove over the spike strips” to disable his vehicle.
“They told him to drive faster and he lied to them and told them that the UPS truck had a governor that would not allow it to go over 50 mph,” he said.
The standoff began first as a routine traffic stop just after 5 p.m. on Thursday when plainclothes Santa Clara County Sheriff’s deputies spotted the couple illegally parked at a VTA station on Chynoweth. The chief said as soon as deputies walked up to the suspects’ black SUV, they took off and led them on a chase.
Investigators said the couple abandoned the SUV then carjacked the UPS truck, taking the driver hostage and forcing him to take the wheel.
“I’ve got to talk about the UPS driver,” Garcia said. “This guy is amazing…The things that he did not only to keep himself safe but to help us capture this violent felon were amazing. UPS should be proud of that guy as well.”
The UPS truck finally came to a stop at the busy intersection on Trimble and First, which is surrounded by businesses and restaurants. They were put on lockdown as the standoff unfolded. VTA service was also affected.
“We were just told to hunker down until the time came,” said Marilyn Jansen, who works in the area, but was holed up inside a Starbucks across from where the UPS was parked.
Sakid Ahmed, who was working across the street from the incident, said officers told workers to stay indoors.
“They said there was a hostage situation, stay in the building, be safe,” he said.
For nearly 90 minutes, the suspect could be seen inside the UPS truck making hand signals, looking out the window and talking on the phone. He also could be seen holding a rifle and at times pointing it toward his head.
At one point the suspect drove the truck a couple feet forward, but he was surrounded by a barricade of law enforcement who had their guns drawn.
Morasky jumped out of the truck with his loaded shotgun as law enforcement closed in on him with their vehicles. He ran into an adjacent parking lot where he was shot dead.
Authorities recovered the shotgun at the scene.
Garcia said Morasky was on parole for carjacking and robbery, which is “almost the very exact same thing that he lost his life for.”
Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith praised her deputies who initiated the traffic stop that triggered the chase and carjacking. She says the deputy had a gut instinct that something wasn’t right when he approached the car with the suspects in the parking lot of a light rail station in South San Jose.
Sheriff also said she believed the suspects were planning some other crime, perhaps even to ambush or rob someone based items found in their SUV after leading police on a violent and chaotic chase.
“They had a shotgun and additional shotgun shells. But what they also had in the car was a machete, duct tape and zip ties,” Sheriff Smith said.
A woman who answered the door where Macy-Rogers lived did not want to comment.
The officer who fired the fatal shot was a 12-year veteran of the force and placed on administrative leave while the shooting is being investigated by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.
KPIX 5 correspondent Maria Medina contributed to this report