SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A San Jose police officer was justified when he used deadly force to shoot and kill a shotgun-wielding man who had carjacked and kidnapped a UPS driver on Valentine’s Day, the Santa Clara County DA’s Office announced Thursday.
Supervising Deputy District Attorney Miguel Valdovinos wrote in his report that the officer had no choice but to open fire after the suspect — Mark Morasky — attempted to flee the armed standoff with police carrying a shotgun.
“Morasky’s choice to avoid apprehension at all cost made him an imminent and formidable threat,” Valdovinos wrote. “Concerned for his safety, the safety of other officers, and the safety of civilians in the area, Officer (Nicholas) Bronte had no other reasonable option but to discharge his weapon.”Police Video: San Jose UPS Truck Hijacking Ends In Fatal Police Shooting (Warning: graphic)
On February 14, around 5 p.m., two sheriff’s deputies in a vehicle saw a SUV illegally park at the Ohlone-Chynoweth Light Rail Station. When they drove up, the vehicle – driven by Morasky – sped away.
During the 14-minute chase, a passenger, who was later identified as 23-year-old Joanna Macy-Rodgers of San Jose, fired a shotgun at the deputies multiple times, striking their vehicle with buckshot.
The suspect’s vehicle then sped the wrong way down Highway 87 during rush hour, making its way to Communications Hill in San Jose, where the two suspects exited.
There they carjacked a UPS driver and – threatening him with the shotgun – forced him to drive them away.
When the vehicle stopped at North First Street near Trimble Road, Macy-Rodgers surrendered but Morasky refused and held the driver at gunpoint. Thirty-eight minutes later, the UPS driver convinced Morasky to let him go.
Just before 7 p.m., Morasky tried to escape in the truck but was blocked in by officers in armored vehicles. After pointing his weapon at the officers, the suspect ran from the truck, carrying the loaded shotgun.
Bronte – former U.S. Marine who had been an officer since 2006 – shot him once with a service rifle. Morasky died of his wounds.