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DA report: SJPD sniper lawfully shot machete-wielding man threatening to decapitate hostage family

 For release on February 20, 2024

Rob Baker
Deputy District Attorney
[email protected]

DA report: SJPD sniper lawfully shot machete-wielding man threatening to decapitate hostage family

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has determined a San Jose Police Department sniper lawfully shot and killed a man who had broken into an apartment and was threatening to chop off the heads of a woman and her two children with a machete.

Before he was shot, Eliobert Gonzalez, 35 – who was armed with two machetes and a loaded pellet gun doctored to look like a .357 Magnum – ignored police requests to surrender for 30 minutes. He told the terrified hostage family that if the police tried to take him away, he would “take them away first.” 

In the 21-page report, prosecutor Rob Baker concluded the officer acted in lawful defense of others. He wrote: “Officer Edward Carboni made a reasonable tactical decision, based on his extensive training and experience as a MERGE (tactical) officer, that saved the lives of a mother and her two boys from an erratic and violent machete-wielding man who held them hostage and repeatedly threatened to kill and behead them.”

The District Attorney’s Office investigates all fatal law enforcement encounters to determine if the lethal force was legal. By law, officers are allowed to use deadly force where there is a reasonable need to protect themselves or others from an apparent, imminent threat of death, or great bodily injury.

Just before 8:30 p.m. on March 22, 2023, Gonzalez, who had been evicted from his nearby apartment that morning, broke into a family’s Boynton Avenue apartment. A mother and her sons – one 18 and the other seven-years-old – fled into a bedroom. Gonzalez smashed through the door with a metal pole and the machete. Over the next 45 minutes, he repeatedly threatened to kill the family and cut off their heads if they didn’t help him get back into his old apartment. He apparently mistakenly thought they were the managers of the building. He forced the mother to tie up her older son and made the family lie on the floor. He ignored the mother’s pleading to let her children go and that God would forgive him as he raised the machete above his head. 

Body worn camera footage shows Officer Carboni, fearing for the lives of the mother and her children, firing multiple rounds from his tactical rifle through the bedroom window, killing Gonzalez and ending the hostage incident.

The older son later pointed out to police that he and his family migrated to the United States to escape violence but were about to die a violent death here.

Officer Carboni has been the subject of three prior Officer Involved Incident investigations. In all of them, the District Attorney’s Office determined that he lawfully used potentially lethal force.



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