DA Says SJPD Sniper Saved Lives When He Fatally Shot Machete-Wielding Man in 2023

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office today announced that it has concluded that a San Jose Police Department sniper lawfully shot and killed a man who had broken into an apartment in March 2023 and was threatening to chop off the heads of a woman and her two children with a machete.

In a report released today, prosecutors said that before he was shot, Eliobert Gonzalez, 35 – who was armed with two machetes and a loaded pellet gun doctored to look like a .357 Magnum – ignored police requests to surrender for 30 minutes. He told the terrified hostage family that if the police tried to take him away, he would “take them away first.”

Body worn camera footage shows Carboni, fearing for the lives of the mother and her children, firing multiple rounds from his tactical rifle through the bedroom window, killing Gonzalez and ending the hostage incident.

In the 21-page report, Deputy District Attorney Rob Baker concluded that Officer Edward Carboni acted in lawful defense of others when he shot and killed Gonzalez.

“Officer Edward Carboni made a reasonable tactical decision, based on his extensive training and experience as a MERGE (tactical) officer, that saved the lives of a mother and her two boys from an erratic and violent machete-wielding man who held them hostage and repeatedly threatened to kill and behead them,” wrote Baker.

The District Attorney’s Office investigates all fatal law enforcement encounters to determine if the lethal force was legal. By law, officers are allowed to use deadly force where there is a reasonable need to protect themselves or others from an apparent, imminent threat of death, or great bodily injury.

Just before 8:30pm on March 22, 2023, Gonzalez, who had been evicted from his nearby apartment that morning, broke into a family’s Boynton Avenue apartment. A mother and her sons – one 18 and the other seven-years-old – fled into a bedroom.

Baker reported that Gonzalez smashed through the door with a metal pole and the machete. Over the next 45 minutes, he repeatedly threatened to kill the family and cut off their heads if they didn’t help him get back into his old apartment.

Gonzalez “apparently mistakenly thought they were the managers of the building,” wrote Baker. “He forced the mother to tie up her older son and made the family lie on the floor. He ignored the mother’s pleading to let her children go and that God would forgive him as he raised the machete above his head.”

The older son later pointed out to police that he and his family migrated to the United States to escape violence but were about to die a violent death here.

Carboni has been the subject of three prior “Officer Involved Incident” investigations. In all of them, the District Attorney’s Office determined that he lawfully used potentially lethal force.



Three decades of journalism experience, as a writer and editor with Gannett, Knight-Ridder and Lee newspapers, as a business journal editor and publisher and as a weekly newspaper editor in Scotts Valley and Gilroy; with the Weeklys group since 2017. Recipient of several first-place writing and editing awards, California News Publishers Association.


  1. He sure does deserve a medal!
    Thank God there are still men and women who want to protect the citizens of this country.

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