Killed – Brandon Marshall (Saratoga, CA)


The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office on Friday identified the man killed by a deputy outside a Saratoga office complex earlier this week as a 43-year-old Sunnyvale man, while at least one witness questioned the need for lethal force.

Workers in an office complex at the intersection of Saratoga and McFarland avenues called 911 just after noon on Tuesday to report that a man at the complex was acting erratically and may have been attempting to commit suicide, said Santa Clara County sheriff’s Sgt. Kurtis Stenderup.

When deputies arrived, they began talking to Brandon Marshall, who “suddenly became agitated,” pulled out a 5½-inch metal spike and attacked one of the deputies, Stenderup said in a news release Friday.

The deputy, Stenderup said, was hit with the spike and feared for his life, so he fired his gun. Marshall was hit in the chest but continued to fight with officers as they restrained him, Stenderup added.

s a man with a history of mental problems, Brandon Marshall was having a bad day last Dec. 10. At a noontime conference at the Saratoga offices of his employer, set-top device maker Roku, the quality assurance engineer furiously ingested pills.

At one point, the 43-year-old pulled out his mobile phone and called his father, a Sunnyvale dentist, to pick him up. When Marshall wandered outside, someone called 911.

Described by firefighters as acting “manic,” Marshall nonetheless began negotiating with paramedics, who were on the phone with Marshall’s father when Santa Clara County sheriff’s deputies Kristin Anderson and Aldo Groba arrived.

A wrongful-death lawsuit filed by Marshall’s family says that when Anderson approached him from behind, Marshall swung a key fob at her, described as a short, rounded aluminum rod. Groba, a 14-year veteran, then shot Marshall in the stomach.

Over the phone with the paramedics, Marshall’s father, Steven Marshall, heard his son cry out in pain. Within a few hours, the engineer died at Valley Medical Center.

The deputies say he swung a key fob, or “kubaton,” at them before Deputy Aldo Groba fired a shot at the engineer’s stomach. His family’s attorneys contend that the deputies had no reason to confront Marshall, who posed no significant threat: He was simply waving his keys in his agitation.

A) None of the four deputies who responded to the scene had CIT (crisis intervention training), which teaches authorities how to deal with the mentally ill. Like many departments, the sheriff’s office offers such training but does not make it mandatory.

C) When the first deputy on the scene, Kristen Anderson, approached Marshall, he became more agitated. His family’s attorneys say he was fidgeting with his keys, which were attached to a thin, rounded aluminum rod. When Anderson asked if it was a weapon, Marshall said it was and put it away at her request.

D) Groba initially had been standing some distance away when Anderson — according to the family’s filing — looked over at him. Groba then approached with a gun drawn, prompting Marshall to back up and say, “No, no, no” or “whoa, whoa, whoa,” witnesses said. As Marshall swung his key chain at deputies, Groba fired a single shot.


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