After an investigation, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office has concluded that three Sunnyvale Public Safety Officers last year lawfully shot and killed a city man who rushed at them with a large kitchen knife.
Before he attacked the officers Michael Nehez had murdered his wife and holed up in his home. He told a dispatcher that he had committed the murder, and said: “I wanna end it all….it’s got to end sooner or later.”
In a 38-page report, prosecutor Matthew Braker determined that the SWAT team members shot the armed and attacking man while fearing for their safety, and the safety of others.
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 when faced with imminent danger and/or when trying to arrest a violent and dangerous fleeing felon.
Just before 8 a.m. on August 8, 2013, Nehez called 911 and reported that he had strangled his wife to death two days before. Responding officers spent about two hours trying to contact the 68-year-old man, and then entered the San Pedro Avenue home.
Almost immediately, Nehez charged the officers, holding a nine-inch kitchen knife in his hand and ignoring their commands.
Fearing for their lives and for the lives of the other officers, three veteran Sunnyvale SWAT officers – Jeromy Lima, Silas Mutz and Regan Williams – fired their weapons. Nehez, who made it to within about six feet of the officers, was killed after being struck with all nine bullets that were fired. Officers who were armed with less-lethal weapons said they had no time to transition to them. Officer Williams reported, “In my mind he was gonna try to stab one of us, try to kill us.”
After the shooting, officers discovered the body of Marlene Nehez. The 55-year-old had been stabbed to death.