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The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office said today that the San Jose police officer who shot and killed a man last December was not at fault. In a 23-page report, prosecutor Brian Welch outlines the case, through which he concludes that Lee Tassio used a legal level of self-defense to protect himself from injury or death when he shot and killed Valente Galindo in his San Jose home, the district attorney’s office said. Tassio’s exoneration hinged in part on the fact that he had not fired his weapon at another armed gang member, Manuel Fuentes, 25, who he had been chasing just before he shot 47-year-old Galindo, district attorney’s officials said.
On December 15, 2011, around 9:10 p.m., Tassio and other officers were conducting a routine gang suppression patrol, according to the report. During the patrol, Tassio chased Fuentes — a gang member, into Galindo’s Inman Way home, according to the district attorney’s office. There, Tassio tackled Fuentes, who threw his semi-automatic handgun into Galindo’s bedroom, the district attorney’s office said. When Galindo picked up the cocked and loaded gun, despite Tassio’s warnings not to, Tassio shot and killed the man, who was also a gang member and had a criminal history, according to the report.
An autopsy later revealed that Galindo was intoxicated and had methamphetamine in his system at the time, the district attorney’s office said. Further investigations revealed that the gun carried by Fuentes and picked up by Galindo that night was stolen from a Hayward home years ago and used in the October 2, 2011 murder of Valerie Casillas by her estranged husband Marcus Casillas, according to the report. Marcus Casillas was scheduled to appear in court at 2 p.m. today at the Santa Clara County Hall of Justice.
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