Police Shoot Allegedly Suicidal Man During Welfare Check

San Jose police shot and wounded a man who allegedly tried to break into a cop car and pilfer a racked shotgun last week.

Officers used a Taser, pepper spray, a projectile round and a bullet to subdue Ronald William Woods, according to the San Jose Police Department. The 50-year-old man is in stable condition after being treated at a local hospital.

The incident marked San Jose’s ninth officer-involved shooting, five of which have been fatal.

Police were dispatched to check on Woods, who was allegedly threatening to kill himself, just after 6:30pm last Thursday at Monterey Oaks mobile home park in south San Jose.

After tracking him down just north of Southlake Drive, police said he walked up to the front passenger side door of the patrol car and announced that he wanted Officer Daniel Morales’ gun.

As Morales got out of the car, Woods allegedly reached into the cruiser through an open window and began ransacking a bag on the front passenger seat. The policeman ordered him to stop, but said Woods failed to comply.

Morales then used his stun gun, which reportedly had little effect on Woods. Woods walked toward Morales, who used his pepper spray while backtracking. Still, Woods ignored the cop’s commands, authorities said.

Unfazed, Woods allegedly walked to the driver’s side door and tried to un-rack a shotgun inside the car.

“Woods reached into the police vehicle, grabbed the shotgun and attempted to remove it from the shotgun rack,” police said in a statement. “Officer Morales gave the suspect commands to exit the vehicle and get on the ground, but he continued to pull on the shotgun.”

Morales, who said he thought Woods managed to take hold of the gun, fired his duty weapon and struck the man at least once.

Police said the bullet knocked Woods to the ground, but he kept resisting even as other officers arrived to subdue him. Another officer fired a projectile round from a launcher at Woods, who finally settled down enough for police to arrest him.

Paramedics treated Woods’ single gunshot wound on scene before transporting him to a hospital.

Authorities booked Woods into a Santa Clara County jail on suspicion of attempting to take a firearm from an officer and attempted grand theft of a firearm.

Officer Morales, who has been on the force for two years, was placed on paid leave, per department policy.

The SJPD homicide unit has asked anyone with information about the case to contact Sgt. Raul Martinez or detective Jorge Santiago at 408.277.5283. People who want to remain anonymous can call the Crime Stoppers tip line at 408.947.7868.

The District Attorney’s Office and SJPD’s Internal Affairs Unit are also investigating the incident.

SJPD launched an online FAQ page to answer the public's questions about use of force after a spate of officer-involved shootings this summer.

“We believe it is important for the community to understand the investigative process, monitoring and incident review process,” the department said in a statement announcing the new web page in August.

The site points to the agency's protocol for officer-involved shooting investigations, its use-of-force guidelines and describes how police review each incident. It also addresses why an officer would shoot a person and how the DA steps in after it happens.

Jennifer Wadsworth is the news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

12 Comments

  1. Josh and Jenn are at it again—more anti-cop bias. After reading the story, it’s clear to me that a more accurate headline would be: SJPD officer shoots a man allegedly trying to steal his shotgun.

  2. The really sad part about this story is that the would be thief of a Police shotgun-is still alive.

    David S. Wall

    • Mr. Wall,

      I may have to disagree with you. The really sad part will be the poor little victim that this malevolent reprobate will take with him during his (high probability) Murder-suicide sometime in the future.

  3. It’s obvious to me this officer was way to tolerant and a bad shot. This guy should be dead and the officers gun empty.
    Please explain why he endangered him self and the public letting this guy get to the shotgun!

    • There is nothing obvious if you weren’t there… and the officer didn’t “let the guy get to the shotgun.”

          • Proper Police Procedure.

            1; Do not fire your weapon at anything you do not intend to kill.

            2; If you feel you are endangered enough to fire your weapon, you intend to kill, don’t stop shooting at one round.
            The lawyers will pick this apart as, the victim was not really that dangerous and shouldn’t have been shot.

            3; Mr Woods was very intent on doing something rather anti social if the story is completely true, this officer, Morales was doing very well escalating the confrontation from stun gun, and pepper spray, until Mr Woods tried to un-rack the shot gun after running around the car. That’s a good indication that Mr Woods was on some serious pain meds of some sort and was going to require stronger measures .

            4; I know that shot gun rack in most police cruisers is built to keep the bad guys out, but I just saw this man brush off
            two non lethal weapons and showing no fear of a very well armed cop. If Mr Woods had managed to free that gun there is no telling what mayhem would have followed.

            5; People have been known to fake being dead, and you have already shot at the perpetrator showing you feared for you life, “Empty the Gun”, otherwise this fellows lawyer is going to sue you and the city for everything they can get because they can now show a jury you really didn’t think he was dangerous enough to kill so you shouldn’t have shot him in the first place.

            6; Today the problem is PC overrule’s PPP and common sense in the News Media.

            7; This is one of the toughest situations you can put a young officer into or an older one, it’s why so many times we see what is presented as police brutality or excessive force is in reality the last resort for an officer in a no win situation. I’m going to side with officer Morales, I’m just pointing out that not killing this guy or “emptying the gun”
            is going to be a problem for this man, and I hope it doesn’t cost him more than time lost at the review board.

            EG.

  4. — “San Jose police shot and wounded a man who allegedly tried to break into a cop car and pilfer a racked shotgun last week.” —

    The opening sentence of this piece is a perfect example of the miserable state of journalism.

    — The police shot and wounded a man, but the man “allegedly” tried to blank… blank… blank. Since the police department was the sole source of the information used in this report there was no legitimate need to treat as a certainty the effect (the reported actions of the officer) while inserting doubt (“allegedly”) into the cause (the reported actions of the arrested person). Had the sentence read, “San Jose police reported that an officer shot and wounded a man who’d forced his way into a police car in an attempt to arm himself with a shotgun,” the reader would’ve been both accurately informed and left free to determine if skepticism was warranted. But factual accuracy and serving the public have no place in a news business in which peddling doubt about police actions has become the norm of the ambitious liars who dominate its ranks.

    — Did police really report that the arrested person “tried” to break into the police car? To have done so wouldn’t have made any sense, as one cannot reach for or grab the shotgun without already having successfully entered the car.

    — But the grossest offense was the use of the word “pilfer,” which not only inaccurately depicts the act (pilfer describes the theft of items of little value — not the forceful taking of expensive and frightening weapons), it inaccurately describes the intentions of a man who wanted to use the shotgun to kill himself (or force the police into doing so). The only reason for the reporter to use such an inaccurate word is to downplay the very serious threat the man posed to the officer (and the public). Few situations can match the terrifying challenge posed by a person who so wants to die that he’s willing to injure or kill in order to make someone else kill him.

    I can only envision the reaction of the brave staff at SJI should a deranged man enter their offices brandishing a shotgun just stolen from a police car. I can imagine the suddenly incontinent staff shrieking and screaming a great variety of words — some laced with profanity, some with appeals to a higher power, but I guarantee you the word “pilfer” would not be one of them.

    • SJI doesn’t have the intestinal fortitude to add an ‘up or down’ vote feature to readers comments much less their own writers posts… so no way they could face the things law enforcement deals with.

      I’ve posted this before but it’s worth “alleging” again here again in reporter speak…

      the publisher/owner of this sight is as one would might “imagine ” is a very squeaky wheel when it comes to his “allegations” of rampant chaos, anarchy and crime requiring a massive massive police invasion and show of force to serve his wants needs and desires for a sage quiet neighborhood. (Note to doubters… a FOIA on emails from him to command staff will confirm this).

      Even more telling though is that when he summons police to deal with issues around his home he allegedly requests specific instructions that police not respond to his home but to a clandestine location away from his domicile… perhaps to protect his identity and the security of his home and family though no one can be sure that he simply doesn’t want an adoring police force to know the exact location of his humble abode.

      Maybe he does this since he is perceived as a noble journalist committed to holding the police accountable? This might upset those on the frontlines but that’s the game here (piss’em off get’em to react badly and make sure video is rolling and bam : gotcha news!)

      The real downside to meeting police publicly would be perceived as apparent ‘cooperation” with law enforcement and call into question the credibility of his crusade among his friends and allies in the fight he feeds his family on…

      oh wait he also feeds them with fees from Backpage… and you know how law enforcement and Backpage don’t mix…

  5. Empty Gun…. your expalination PPP? Please, stop now. Seriously any police who spouted that nonsense would end loosing their house and rotting in jail.

    Besides, aren’t you the same Empty Gun who asked for the investigation to be completed before the blame is cast in the case of the latest inmate to die in the Jail? Time stamped about 4 minutes after your original post here?

    BTW you are confusing basic firearms safety rules with the court proven doctrine that is the basis for police shooting policy (shoot to STOP the threat).

    • Meyer,

      I’m explaining my position and the opinion of the police, military, and civilians that trained me.
      This was the opinion of legal counsel State of Cal, for the DEA and a civilian security agency’s at the time.
      That instructor was involved with training of IRS agents and Sheriff departments in 2 counties as well, at a local collage. Those lessons were backed up by actual court case’s.

      As I hear about police shooting these days most seem to involve bad guy shot multiple times, makes my think that practice is still in affect.

      I won’t get into the 9mm problem with you.

      Court doctrine is what ever the last decision was. I’d rather be judged by 12 than buried by 6.
      Yes indeed shoot to stop the threat.

      Since there has been no word yet as to the cause of death at the jail I’m asking for time for a ruling,
      only fair right. The last one was over the top don’t you think, and now we have PG’s in jail.
      I’m also familiar with the payback policy in jails and prisons, your not supposed to kill them.

      In the Woods case there is a story and I pointed out that I’m relaying on a truthful story as told by SJI.

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