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Luis Fernando Pacheco, 25
San Mateo, California
April 28, 2017

Agencies: California Highway Patrol | San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office California

Cause of death: shooting

Last updated: almost 3 years ago

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The Coroner’s Office has identified the person shot and killed by officers on Highway 101 in San Mateo Friday evening as Luis Fernando Pacheco, a 25-year-old San Jose man.

Pacheco was pronounced dead at the scene in the northbound lanes just south of State Route 92 and a multi-agency investigation is underway. A toxicology report is also being conducted on Pacheco’s remains, the results of which are expected in four to six weeks, according to the Coroner’s Office.

The names of three California Highway Patrol Officers who fired at Pacheco have yet to be released but they are on administrative leave, said CHP spokesman Officer Art Montiel.

Pacheco was allegedly armed with a handgun and in the midst of attempting to carjacking a woman he’d gotten into an accident with when CHP officers approached him on the side of the busy highway during rush hour traffic April 28, according to police and prosecutors.

The shooting was caught on video by at least one of the CHP’s dashboard-mounted vehicle cameras and is being reviewed as part of the investigation, said District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

“From the arrival of the CHP, it picks it all up,” Wagstaffe said.

The San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office is investigating the legality of the officers’ actions in shooting Pacheco and a report is expected in eight to 10 weeks. The San Mateo Police Department is investigating the criminal matter leading up to CHP’s arrival, and CHP is conducting an internal investigation to determine if the officers’ actions were in compliance with the agency’s policies.

The incident was first reported as a traffic collision between two vehicles that had pulled over to the right shoulder of the northbound lanes, just before 5:30 p.m. on the congested highway. At some point, Pacheco reportedly got out of his vehicle and attempted to carjack a 55-year-old East Bay woman with whom he’d gotten into an accident, according to San Mateo police.

Neither the woman nor Pacheco had passengers in their vehicle, Wagstaffe said.

Three CHP officers in separate vehicles arrived on scene shortly after 5:30 p.m. and interrupted Pacheco who was allegedly brandishing a handgun. Officers attempted to de-escalate Pacheco, ordered him to drop the weapon and attempted to negotiate, according to police.

Pacheco did not fire at the officers, but allegedly raised his weapon at them, according to Wagstaffe.

The chaotic incident unfolded as cars whizzed by during heavy Friday evening traffic near one of San Mateo County’s most congested freeway intersections.

Faced with immediate safety concerns for themselves and witnesses at the scene, officers fatally shot the man, according to police.

The shooting prompted officers to shut down all northbound lanes of Highway 101 between Hillsdale Boulevard and State Route 92 for more than six hours as night fell and teams from the crime lab, Coroner’s Office, police, District Attorney’s Office and CHP investigated the scene.

The footage from the video is also being reviewed as prosecutors consider the legality of the three officers’ actions per county protocol. Wagstaffe said having the high-quality video from the static dashboard cameras catch the entire incident since CHP’s arrival is somewhat unique in San Mateo County. He noted only a few local police departments currently have body-worn cameras, the footage from which can sometimes be less clear especially during a struggle. Departments throughout the county are in the process of studying what it might require to adopt the technology.

Montiel said the state agency is currently piloting a body-worn camera program in Stockton and Oakland.

Wagstaffe said Pacheco did not have a criminal record in San Mateo County, and further details about Friday’s incident would be released along with his office’s report in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, the agencies involved commended one another for the response to the fatal officer involved shooting.

“The coordination among the three agencies was extremely well done,” Wagstaffe said. “It was a great collaborative effort with everybody working well to handle their segment of responsibility.”

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