Officers cleared in South San Francisco deadly capturing | Native Information

San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe has acquitted four police officers who were involved in the fatal shooting of a man who repeatedly tried them with a knife on Easter Sunday in April in South San Francisco.

Following an investigation, Wagstaffe announced Thursday that the officers had not violated California criminal laws and that there was no basis for a criminal complaint against them. Officers include South San Francisco Police Officers Andrew Hyde and Michael Valdes, Cpl. Chris Devan and San Francisco Police Sgt.William Pon.

The April 12 incident resulted in the death of Justin Silvernale, a 35-year-old man from Antioch who stole or attempted to steal three vehicles that day and assaulted a civilian and one of the above officials.

Silvernale is also suspected of brutally murdering a 41-year-old man named Catono R. Perez in San Francisco. Perez’s severed head and body parts were found in a refrigerator in his home on the 1600 block of the Great Highway in April.

After Silvernale was killed by police, they found Perez’s ID in his possession and his pants were stained with Perez’s blood, Wagstaffe said. The San Francisco Police are actively investigating this case.

Wagstaffe said Silvernale had a “long history of mental illness” and failed to see its treatment providers in the months, if not a year, prior to his deadly battle with police.

That day, early in the morning, Silvernale stole a rental car from the San Francisco International Airport rental that he was driving to the parking lot of a trailer park in South San Francisco. There he unsuccessfully attempted to steal a second vehicle before attempting a third vehicle at a nearby Chevron station on Hickey Blvd. 110 to steal, so the prosecutor.

Around 5:30 a.m., a witness saw Silvernale approach a car parked at one of the gas pumps and occupied by a man named Ancieto Bagadiong. According to Bagadiong, he had just refueled his car when Silvernale grabbed his arm, hit him in the face and chest, and pulled him out of the car. Silvernale got into the car and tried to start it, but the keys were still with Bagadiong. When Silvernale realized this, he returned to Bagadiong and repeatedly kicked him in the face and chest with a stamping motion, said Wagstaffe.

Bagadiong yelled for help and was overheard by Pon, who was off duty at the time and was filling his car at the same gas station. Pon approached the source of the screams and found Silvernale standing over Bagadiong, punching and kicking him when he was on the ground. There was blood on Silvernale’s pants, the prosecutor said.

Pon described that, according to Wagstaffe, Silvernale has a “thousand yard view” and appears like a wild animal.

Pon hit Silvernale while posing as a cop and ordered him to go to the ground. Although a gun was aimed at him, Silvernale charged again at Pon, who was able to knock him off again with one blow.

Pon then leaned over to retrieve his handcuffs when Silvernale slapped him in the face. Pulling back to create distance, Pon found that, according to prosecutors, Silvernale had a box cutter knife in his right hand.

With his gun drawn, Pon again ordered Silvernale to stop, warning him that if he didn’t, he would shoot him. Silvernale replied: “Go on and kill me, kill me,” said Wagstaffe. As Silvernale came closer to him, Pon fired a shot at Silvernale, hit him in the abdomen and let him fall to the ground.

“Pon felt that he had no alternative at this point, as Silvernale closed the distance quickly and would have overtaken him within a few steps,” wrote Wagstaffe in a letter. “Pon feared for his safety as he believed that Silvernale, who had already injured Mr. Bagadiong, was ‘completely out of control’ and would kill him if he had the chance.”

On the floor, Silvernale made cutting movements with the knife through his throat. Pon tried to tell him not to hurt himself, and Silvernale replied several times by saying, “Just kill me.” Pon called the police and, while he waited, watched Silvernale use a pole to get back on his feet, still in possession of the knife. Pon told the responding officers, including Hyde, what had happened and they approached Silvernale, one with a taser drawn and the other with a pistol. Silvernale was hit with multiple taser shots and each time fell to the ground and, according to the prosecutor, got up quickly.

When officers found that Silvernale was “considering suicide by police officers,” officers attempted to de-escalate the situation by increasing the distance between them and Silvernale and refusing to fire their handguns at him.

Corporal Devan later stated that given the limited information he had, the fact that Silvernale was armed with a knife, and concerns that Silvernale had attempted suicide, he did not feel that there was any fatal violence at the time should be used, ”says Wagstaffe’s letter.

During the fight, Silvernale managed to steal one of the police patrol cars and the police again refused to shoot him. The officers chased Silvernale for less than a mile and followed him into the parking lot of the Kaiser Medical Center at 295 Hickey Blvd. in Daly City. The officers surrounded Silvernale, who accelerated on them and almost hit one of them, but the officers were still holding the fire, according to prosecutors.

Silvernale finally left the car with the knife still in hand and ignored further orders to get to the ground. He then attacked the officers and as he approached them Hyde fired a shotgun while Devan and Valdes fired five and four shots respectively at him, Wagstaffe said. Silvernale took two or three steps towards the officers before she collapsed.

“The behavior of the officers was objectively sensible and necessary to defend human lives,” Wagstaffe concluded in a letter.

Pon suffered bruises and cuts on his neck and face and pain in his left wrist. According to the prosecutor, Bagadiong suffered, among other things, bruises and swelling around both eyes and his nose, a laceration on the cheek and a seven centimeter laceration on the sole of the foot, which among other things had to be sewn.

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