Sunnyvale officer cleared in fatal 2015 shooting

Santa Clara County authorities on Tuesday cleared a veteran Sunnyvale police officer in the fatal shooting of an armed robbery suspect more than four years ago.

The shooting occurred near Grewalz Liquor & Grocery at 1125 Tasman Drive about 11:15 a.m. on April 8, 2015.

Officer Benjamin Kroutil confronted 28-year-old transient Joseph Weber in an alleyway next to the market. The dash-cam in the officer’s squad car caught Weber pulling a knife from a sweatshirt pocket with his left hand, while his right hand remained hidden, according to a 39-page report by Deputy District Attorney Carolyn Powell.

Kroutil, a 14-year veteran of the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety, repeatedly yelled at Weber to drop the knife. The officer also warned Weber he would shoot him and did so when Weber began slowly walking in his direction with the knife pointed at him.

“Seeing Mr. Weber moving toward him while still holding his knife and believing his life was in danger, Officer Kroutil, who was legally permitted to stand his ground rather than retreat, reasonably believed he did not have any other option but to use his weapon,” the report said.

Weber was hit by four of the five bullets Kroutil fired from his service weapon. He was pronounced dead a short time later at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose.

According to the report, Weber was a suspect in an armed robbery at Grewalz just prior to the shooting. The proprietor, Khuhpal Singh Grewal, told authorities Weber had asked him for a pack of cigarettes and when he refused, Weber walked into the cashier area and waved a knife. Weber then grabbed a pack of Camels and left the market.

Grewal was one of several witnesses who heard Kroutil tell Weber to drop the knife.

“Mr. Grewal said, ‘(Kroutil) told (Weber) just take your hands out and he started walking toward the cop. … I don’t think he had a choice either ’cause he wouldn’t stop walking. He kept telling him to stop. Stop! … He wouldn’t stop,’ ” Powell wrote in the report.

Weber had a history of mental illness and was known to bang his head against walls, according to the report.

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By: ThisIsButter (36290.70)

Tags: WTF, veteran, cop, shoots, armed, robbery, suspect, cleared, off, charges