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Deputies' Shots Fired at Quarry Shooter Justified

A report released Wednesday by the District Attorney's office finds eight shots fired by Sheriff's deputies were "lawful" and "legal" in last year's nightmarish Lehigh quarry shooting by employee Shareef Allman.

Shots fired by deputies at Shareef Allman, the quarry shooter who shot nine and killed three coworkers at Lehigh Southwest Cement Plant in 2011, were lawful and legally justified, a report released Wednesday said.

“Given the apparent danger that Allman posed, the deputies’ use of deadly force was not excessive or unreasonable in eliminating the perceived imminent threat,” the report issued by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office said.

When posed with reasonable concern of imminent threat of death or bodily injury law enforcement officers are allowed to use deadly force, and in the case of shots fired by Santa Clara County Sheriff’s deputies Fabian De Santiago, Christopher Hilt and Lindsay Crist were legally justified, the report said.

Allman was hiding out in the Birdland neighborhood of Sunnyvale during a 26-hour pursuit when he was spotted at about 7:30 a.m. crouching behind a car in the 900 block of Lorne Way. Allman began walking between two cars when De Santiago ordered Allman to raise his hands.

Allman held his firearm to his own head and shouted “Kill me” to De Santiago.

As De Santiago moved toward Allman, the suspect made a punching motion with his hand while holding the gun. De Santiago opened fire with Hilt and Crist following, but the County’s medical examiner’s office would determine that the fatal shot to Allman was self-inflicted. Allman was struck eight times by deputies’ shots.

Allman’s killing spree began at a trailer office at Lehigh shortly after 4 a.m. on Oct. 5, 2011, where a weekly safety meeting was being held. Allman barricaded the doors to the trailer and began shooting. He shot nine employees, killing three—Mark Munoz, Manuel Pinon, and John Vallejos—with one of the shot employees left paralyzed from the waist down.

His rampage there ended when he ran out of ammunition at which time he fled, abandoned his car behind Pho Saigon on Homestead Road and walked to the Hewlett-Packard parking lot where he attempted carjack a woman’s car. He beat and shot her, and shot at another woman who intervened. He was last seen going into the backyard of a home in the 900 block of Homestead Road.

A daylong search moved into the night and SWAT teams and other law enforcement pulled back allowing residents who were prevented from returning to their homes after work, back in to the neighborhood.

It was in that neighborhood, not far from where he was last seen, that Allman would take his own life almost simultaneously while being shot by deputies.

Bob M November 28, 2012 at 09:31 PM
Thanks for the followup. It answers one of my questions about the shooting. Television has made us think that trained officers are good shots (always hitting their target) but the other part of this is that the three officers, who I feel were justified, actually fired a total of 28 rounds (remember the holes in the garage door). I was curious as to how many were hits. Having been in conflict, and under fire, I can tell you that accuracy goes out the window and maximum shots become more important. Now I know.
Roger Pickler November 29, 2012 at 03:03 AM
How much money did the District Atterney's Offices spend to state the obvious? And, if it was really necessary why did it take so long for them to generate a report?
Bob M November 29, 2012 at 03:47 PM
I think it is normal process to review and determine if justified in any officer use of lethal force. Plus, I remember something about a civil suit against the deputies by Allman's family members. Go figure....
Bob M November 29, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Today's Mercury News reports that 44 shots were fired by deputies, not the 28 I remember hearing after the incident. Wow, 44 rounds is a lot in a residential area. Maybe they mistook the round he fired to kill himself as a return round at them?
Anne Ernst November 30, 2012 at 12:51 AM
Bob M: I read a bit of the report that included a the summary of deputies' statements and it seems the first round that was fired was a reaction to a sudden movement by Allman who made a punching motion with his firearm toward one deputy. Allman then raised the gun to his own head and shot himself. But it was in that swift moment that the deputy fired and the other two fired as well. Since Allman had already shot and killed so many he posed an immediate threat.

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