Jennifer Vasquez was killed by San Jose police officers on Christmas morning after being mistakenly identified as a suspect in a shooting
Officers say Vasquez led police on a seven minute pursuit after they learned the vehicle was stolen
After Vasquez lost control of the vehicle four officers fatally shot her claiming she was preparing to ram officers with the stolen car
San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia has not said how many shots were fired at Vasquez and her passenger 28-year-old Linda Bueno
Loved ones of 24-year-old Jennifer Vasquez never imagined they would be spending Christmas mourning her death after police misidentified her as a suspect in a shooting and fatally shot her.
At 2:09 am on Tuesday, police responded to the area of Clemence Avenue and Story Road after receiving a gunshot call where two adults suffered from at least one bullet wound a piece.
San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia said in a news conference that witnesses pointed out a white Toyota Camry going southbound on Clemence Avenue. An officer spotted the vehicle heading west on Owsley Avenue from Clemence and broadcasted the information.
Officers began following Vasquez and claim to have determined the car was stolen after running the tag. It was reported that Vasquez has a previous conviction of car theft and evading police.
After officers determined the vehicle was stolen, a pursuit began. Vasquez led police on a chase that lasted roughly seven minutes until she lost control and crashed into a chain link fence at Fruitdale and Leigh avenues next to Sherman Oaks Elementary School.
Police say Vasquez was running her car back and forth trying to get off the chain link fence until she was in a position to ram a police car. Garcia said officers standing outside of their police cars believed her actions to be a threat to their lives.
Four officers opened fire on the vehicle, fatally injuring Vasquez and wounding her passenger 28-year-old Linda Bueno. Bueno was taken to the hospital with injuries then booked into Santa Clara County Jail on a misdemeanor bench warrant.
Police did not find any weapons in the vehicle and have no reason to believe the two women were connected to the shooting call. No information has been released on the actual suspects. Garcia said the two victims from the shooting were alive and said what happened was a “coincidence” and a “tragedy” that could have turned out differently had Vasquez not fled the scene.
It was a coincidence and a tragedy. It would have turned out very differently if she hadn’t fled.
The family feels there are a lot of unanswered questions. For one, Garcia has not said how many shots were fired by the four officers. Silicon Valley De-Bug advised the family with masking six demands of the department, one of which is to release the total number of shots fired.
The family wants Vasquez’s body released to them from law enforcement and all video and audio of the shooting to be released. According to Garcia, all four officers had body cameras on and the footage will be released following an investigation by Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen.
The family has also requested the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct an independent investigation to press charges against all four officers.