Sunnyvale officer ‘lawfully killed’ armed 23-year-old man during pursuit in 2015

SUNNYVALE (BCN) — An officer will not be charged for fatally shooting an armed 23-year-old San Diego man during a foot pursuit in Sunnyvale last year, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office said Thursday.

An investigation showed Officer Bryan Smart “lawfully killed” Allen Baker, who led him on a chase from a Motel 6 and pointed a loaded handgun at him on Aug. 15, prosecutors said.

Baker was a member of the Young Lynch Mob Gang in San Diego and the letters “YLMG” were tattooed across his neck, according to a 24-page report on the case.

The group is a subset of the larger Lincoln Park Gang, whose members were known to be in incidents where shots were fired at officers, the report said.

The 23-year-old told acquaintances he’d rather get into a shootout with police than go back to jail, the report said.

Smart was one of the officers who responded to the motel at 806 W. Ahwanee Ave. around 4 p.m. that day on a report of possible prostitution activity, according to the report.

Officers learned a woman accompanied by a 17-year-old girl arrived at the motel in a black Jaguar and booked a room. The car had tinted windows and no license plates, the report said.

The driver parked but kept the car running while he kept watch outside the room, where the woman and girl were for about an hour. Officers asked the driver to step out of the vehicle and two passengers inside quickly fled, according to the report.

One of the two was Baker and the other was Shawn Brown, who was wanted for a Fresno murder, the report said.

Smart saw Baker while driving a department SUV as another officer followed on foot and used a Taser stun gun on the suspect, but was unable to stop him, according to the report.

Smart parked the SUV and joined in on the pursuit even though he wasn’t dispatched to the scene because he felt more officers were needed given the nature of the incident, the report said.

Baker was strapped with a backpack and dropped a loaded gun during the pursuit. He then was cornered when he ran through bushes and got blocked by a fence, the report said.

When faced by Smart, Baker aimed a loaded 9mm semi-automatic gun at his own chest and threatened to kill himself while ignoring the officer’s commands to drop the weapon, the report said.

Baker then pointed the gun at Smart, who in response fired five to seven shots that killed the suspect at the scene, according to the report.

“The situation Baker created carried such an imminent threat of death or bodily injury to Officer Smart and his fellow officers that the only reasonable action available to Officer Smart was to fire his own weapon at
Baker,” Deputy District Attorney Christopher Lamiero wrote in the report.

Smart, an 18-year veteran of Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety, was placed on paid administrative leave after the shooting.

Investigators found another loaded gun inside Baker’s backpack, prosecutors said.

Baker was wanted on an arrest warrant after he didn’t show up to court to be sentenced in an armed robbery, according to the district attorney’s office.

The 23-year-old’s failure to appear automatically gave him a 16-year sentence in state prison, prosecutors said.

The driver of the Jaguar was arrested and Brown was later taken into custody in Las Vegas and will face trial for the Fresno murder on April 18, the report said.

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