A Sunnyvale officer finally received clearance from Santa Clara County officials following investigation into a fatal shooting of an armed robbery suspect some four years after the incident. The shooting took place April 8, 2015.
In the incident, the Sunnyvale officer, Benjamin Kroutil, warned the suspect numerous times before firing. Recently released officer dash cam footage shows Kroutil shout to the man to drop the knife at least 11 times. But instead, 28-year-old Joseph Weber advanced, holding a knife. Kroutil then fired five shots, four which found their mark, according to mercurynews.com. Officials pronounced Weber dead later at a local hospital.
Sunnyvale Officer Responds
“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,” said Deputy District Attorney Carolyn Powell in a report, according to mercurynews.com.
The suspect allegedly attempted to rob Grewalz store. Proprietor Khuhpal Singh Grewal told authorities Weber waved a knife and took a pack of cigarettes from the store, according to mercurynews.com. Grewal also heard the officer tell Weber several times 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, according to mercurynews.com.
Weber had a criminal record, including felony convictions for sex with a minor more than three years his junior. A court also convicted him of soliciting the murder of his mother for refusing to pay his bail, according to mercurynews.com.
So in a case that had eye witnesses, a felon and compelling video evidence, why did it take so long to exonerate Kroutil? A clerical error, according to officials, reported mercurynews.com.