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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: South Bay | Police State and Prisons
Family of San Jose man who was killed by police taser February 11, 2009 are outraged
Relatives on Friday identified the man as 28-year-old Richard Lua. They say he was simply trying to enter his home Wednesday about 10:24 p.m. in the 2200 block of Amador Drive when he was shocked by San Jose police with the stun gun.
Family of San Jose man who died following Taser shock 'outraged'
By Lisa Fernandez
Posted: 02/13/2009 11:25:58 AM PST
The family of a San Jose man killed after San Jose police deployed a Taser at him are grief-stricken and angry.
Relatives on Friday identified the man as 28-year-old Richard Lua. They say he was simply trying to enter his home Wednesday about 10:24 p.m. in the 2200 block of Amador Drive when he was shocked by San Jose police with the stun gun. That's the version of events told to the Mercury News by Vida Roybal, Lua's aunt, and his sister-in-law, Nicole Lua, both of whom live in Rockland.
"We're outraged,'' Roybal said, adding that she's meeting with an attorney to talk about the possibility that police used unnecessary force in the incident. "We're in the dark. Richard is not the type of person who would resist arrest.''
Lua is the sixth person to die following a Taser shock by San Jose police since 2005. On average, the department uses Tasers about 200 times a year, according to officer Enrique Garcia, a department spokesman.
"It's a tragedy whenever anyone dies during a police encounter," Garcia said. "The Police Department is conducting a comprehensive investigation." The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office also is monitoring the case.
San Jose police said Lua resisted arrest, tried to grab an officer's gun from its holster and fought with two officers for several minutes before one of the officers jolted him with a Taser. Police said officers unsuccessfully tried to subdue Lua with their batons before using the Tasers. After he was Tased, Lua went into "medical distress," according to police. Officers tried to revive Lua, but he died at the scene, police said.
It is not clear how many times police zapped Lua.
The incident began while officers were on routine patrol at Story Road and Adrian Way. There, they approached Lua, although it remains unclear why. Lua, however, suddenly ran away and someone in the neighborhood reported seeing a man they did not know in their backyard on Amador Drive, police said.
Police on Friday identified the officers as Eric Bachmann and Patrick Lynch, both seven-year-veterans of the force. One suffered facial lacerations and the other a leg injury during the fight, police said. Both were treated and released from the hospital.
Lua's family said he was renting the garage at the house on Amador but authorities said they had no indication he lived there. Police said they have his home address on Edith Avenue.
According to his relatives, Lua had no medical condition they knew about.
Nicole Lua acknowledged that her brother-in-law had used methamphetamine, but she did not consider him an addict and did not believe he was recently using the drug. She added that Lua was finishing up a yearlong drug recovery program when he died. He attended Foothill High School and did not attend college, working for several years at Jiffy Lube, though he had been recently unemployed.
Lua was basically a good, fun-loving guy, the family said. He has an 11-year-old daughter who lives with her mother in San Jose and a baby on the way with a girlfriend.
"He was funny and great with kids,'' Nicole Lua said.
A couple of weeks ago, however, Lua called his brother, Jose Lua, to tell him he felt a sense of evil and "bad things around him,'' Nicole Lua said.
While on the phone together, the two knelt down and prayed.