San Jose Police Chief Details Shooting of Naked Man Who Led Car Chase, Raised Caulking Gun

A naked man shot by three cops after leading a four-mile car chase and pointing a caulking gun at officers Friday remains hospitalized in critical condition, according to the San Jose Police Department.

Police Chief Eddie Garcia on Monday defended the shooting and identified the officers who fired upon 53-year-old John Bradley Bowles: Todd Ahyo, William Wolfe and Erick Enderle. Each officer has more than two decades of experience, Garcia said.

Bowles, described by police as “mentally unstable,” led police on a meandering chase Friday that ended in gunfire. It started with a phone call around 1:30pm that day with someone reporting a naked man harassing residents around Eva Court and Valerie Drive, police said.

When officers arrived, Bowles hopped into a blue Dodge Ram pickup, reversed out of Eva Court and slammed into a patrol car and a parked car. He then led about 10 cop cars on a four-mile pursuit, police said, hitting several vehicles along the way.

After speeding west down Stevens Creek Boulevard, Bowles pulled into Villa Shopping Center and came to a stop, authorities said. He then crashed into a police SUV.

An officer shot at Bowles, who revved his pickup and pointed what police later learned was a caulking gun at the officers. Other cops fired at him, reportedly a dozen times, and later cited fears that Bowles might harm people in the shopping center.

Footage from police body cameras is being reviewed as part of the investigation, a routine review involving the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, the city’s Independent Police Auditor, the city attorney and the SJPD Internal Affairs Unit.

The three officers who fired their service weapons are on paid leave. No officers were hurt during the incident, which marked the first police shooting in San Jose this year.

Another officer-involved shooting involving a mentally ill man took place earlier this month in nearby Santa Clara, where police shot and killed 24-year-old Jesús Alberto Geney Montes.

Santa Clara police say Montes refused to show his hands and walked toward police during a March 9 confrontation. But, according to the Mercury News, the man’s family disputes the official account. Below is a video of a vigil held last week in Montes’ honor.

Jennifer Wadsworth is a staff writer for San Jose Inside and Metro Newspaper. Email tips to [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

13 Comments

  1. I have no problem with the fact that SJPD shot this guy, but why did it take three officers twelve rounds to bring him down?

    • For every officer on scene that perceives the same threat at the same time, the number of shots fired should increase exponentially. That’s how I look at it.

  2. Come on, caulking guns, Black and Decker drills, dry wall saw, paring 2 inch blade knife, 10 200 lb cops with steel cars to stay behind with bean bag shotgun rounds, mace, stun guns, k-nines, night sticks and still no common sense and emotional stability. Who knows where all the rounds went. Improper deadly force, fire them.

    • After yesterday’s crazed Mohamed attack in London, it’s fairly obvious why SJPD cops don’t take more than half a second to judge whether the naked jerk that drove an SUV recklessly down Stevens Creek or across the Thames, has a caulking gun or a grease gun or worse yet a car bomb.
      The fact that he killed a cop that saw him coming with a kitchen knife, justifies the reaction time of SJPD cops.
      Thank God fast Eddie wasn’t there or they might have had to wait till he raped the bystanders and got it in camera.

    • I couldnt agree more , i mean hes not a young man, and he is practically deaf , im sure the cops had that kind of information when they ran the plate, since they have history with john. Aside from the fact that he was said to be naked, and the cops still felt like they were in iminent danger? Time to retire some of ur nervous and quick to shoot cops.

      • Actually if the cops had been on the ball they would have shot him when he ramed the first police car, that was attempted murder! Just look what followed, he could have killed or injured people for 4 miles along Stevens Creek, then you would be all over the cops for not stopping him sooner. Look how many people have been killed by terrorist with cars and trucks in the last few years.

  3. Well-written story, except that the last two paragraphs, and the video, regarding a different incident in a different city, should have been omitted. Casual readers will likely be confused and conflate the two incidents.

    • Agreed. Just the facts, please. Connecting the two is making unnecessary editorial leaps.

  4. Jenn writes: “Footage from police body cameras is being reviewed as part of the investigation, a perfunctory review involving the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, the city’s Independent Police Auditor, the city attorney and the SJPD Internal Affairs Unit.” Four agencies reviewing, and Jenn calls it perfunctory. Look up the word, Jenn, then amend your statement to include the proper word.

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