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  • SV De-Bug

No Plan. No Roles. No One in Charge — Officer Santos Recounts the Day they Shot Anthony

Updated: Jun 27, 2019

While testifying to the events leading up to the moment San Jose Police Officer Santos fired his high velocity bullet into the back of Anthony Nuñez, he describes a scene of confusion and false assumptions. He describes tactical chaos, where officers were coming to the scene with different understandings as to who was inside the home (Santos admits he didn’t know if the reporting party was in the home or not, or if the person who left the house was Anthony or the reporting party), what roles each officer played, and what the collective plan was. Even approaching Anthony’s home, Santos says there was no one in charge. When he set up his long gun, he also broke protocol in that he did not have a “spotter” — another officer whose role is to give a contextual view of the scene. In fact, officer Santos did not even know that officer Vizzusi also was on scene with another long gun. Santos thought he was the only officer with the “superior” weapon. While on the stand, he actually laughed while describing the barrel of his gun after it is fired. Santos also mistakenly thought another officer (officer Rubens Dalaison who was the CIT officer) was in a patrol vehicle closer to Anthony’s home. Dalaison was not in that vehicle, and Santos’s misunderstanding may have contributed to the fatal conclusion of the incident. What Santos was very confident in, was the precision of his scopes and weaponry. He described how through his lens he was able to see details, such as which finger Anthony allegedly twirled the gun, and a “puffiness” in Anthony’s chest. Yet, somehow, Santos could not say whether he knew he was shooting Anthony in the back or not. Some of the exact language Santos and Vizzusi gave in telling their stories of the July 4th shooting may be attributed to the admittance that prior to giving their statement to homicide detectives, Santos and Vizzusi were prepped by the very same lawyer.

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