A convicted felon approached police officers with a gun to test a theory he had on “police brutality.” Needless to say, that decision resulted in life changing, catastrophic consequences.
On December 19, 2016 Bakersfield Police shot 29-year-old Jose Vaca, who claimed he purposefully wielded a rifle at police to prove to a friend that police officers are good people, reports Bakersfield Now.
“I told my friend one day that I wanted her to believe all police officers are good,” he declared to Eyewitness News. The friend’s husband was reportedly killed by police officers a few months ago.
When police officers pulled him over, Vaca stepped out of the vehicle with his .22 caliber rifle knowing that it was illegal for him to possess one as a convicted felon.
“First thing that came to my mind is I’m already going to get pulled over. I know they’re most likely going to take me in, but I’m going to need to try my theory real quick and see that it’s true so she can believe there is good officers in the world,” Vaca said.
Vaca came out of the car with his rifle and stood in front of the police car, but maintained that he put his hands up.
Officer Christian Hernandez proceeded to fire nine shots at Vaca, according to a police report. Vaca disputes the number claiming that twelve bullets hit him. Three of them exited his body, Vaca said.
“Soon as I hit the ground I just attempted to play dead and they fired a few more shots at me from the back as I was lying on the ground,” he said. “It’s a blessing I’m alive.”
“What I was hoping for them to do was tell me, ‘Drop the gun! Back away from the firearm! Get on the ground! Turn around!’ And it was going to be an arrest,” he said. “But I was completely wrong.”
Vaca said he never pointed the gun at the officers, though it was determined later that the weapon did contain ammunition.
Looking back, Vaca admitted his “experiment” was ill-conceived, saying it wasn’t worth it, though it did “open my eyes to realize life is such a blessing.”
Still, his view of the police hasn’t changed much.
“Do you think they were good cops?” asked Eyewitness News.
“Yeah, because they didn’t know what to expect,” Vaca responded.
Vaca was released from a local hospital eight days later. He is currently being held on a $400,000 bail.
Recently, the Bakersfield Police Department shot a 73-year-old man with dementia after mistaking a crucifix he was carrying for a gun. The police chief said officers were responding to a call about a man with a gun.
The man refused to take his hands out of his pockets, according to the police chief. Officer Reagan Selman responded by shooting the elderly man seven times.