Man with replica gun killed by police said to have mental health and drug issues

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Man with replica gun killed by police said to have mental health and drug issues

PHOTO BY WILL BUCKNER/FLICKR

PHOTO BY WILL BUCKNER/FLICKR

PHOTO BY WILL BUCKNER/FLICKR

By Kyle Martin, BAY CITY NEWS SERVICE

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The man killed by San Jose police while holding a fake gun on Halloween was planning a “suicide by cop,” according to Police Chief Eddie Garcia.
Garcia said an officer shot and killed Francis Calonge, a 33-year-old San Jose man, after Calonge refused commands to drop what appeared to be a real handgun. The shooting unfolded after police received a report in the afternoon of a man with a gun near the 2300 block of McKee Road.
Officer Edward Carboni, who shot Calonge, was involved in another officer-involved shooting from earlier this year. On May 4, Carboni shot and killed a man who had reportedly hit another officer with a stolen vehicle and dragged him while fleeing the scene.
Garcia said preliminary toxicology reports show Calonge had methamphetamine in his system when he died, adding that Calonge had prior convictions relating to robbery, resisting or delaying or obstructing a police officer, battery, brandishing a weapon other than a firearm in public and two outstanding warrants for brandishing a weapon other than a firearm and resisting arrest.
“The subject had a history of suicidal behavior, self-admitted drug use and six 72-hour mental health holds,” Garcia said Tuesday afternoon.
Police had previously made contact with Calonge in October 2016 when he was reported leaving his family’s home with a knife “threatening suicide by cop,” Garcia said.
Police at that time used non-lethal means to take him into custody.
In January 2017, police again made contact with Calonge when his family reported receiving text messages from him expressing attempts at “suicide by cop,” Garcia said.
Calonge was again placed in custody on a mental health hold.
In April, Calonge was reported brandishing a knife along Jackson Avenue, Garcia said.
Calonge died Thursday at a hospital after he was shot by Carboni with a rifle.
“In this instance, which is tragic, my heart goes out to the family,” Garcia said. “This incident and loss of life are examples of the tremendous need for additional mental health services, drug treatment and intervention in our community.”
Garcia added that “police officers are too often placed in these situations,” but also said that “force is a part of this job, and it’s unfortunate when officers have to use it, especially in this type of case when you’re talking about getting into shootings.”
Garcia said Calonge was shot when he appeared to be advancing toward nearby Independence High School with the supposed gun in his waistband, while he repeatedly did not comply with officers’ demands to drop the weapon.
Body camera footage will be made available later in the ongoing investigation, the police chief said.