San Jose police shooting: Abducted UPS driver hailed for thwarting carjackers during chase – The Mercury News
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SAN JOSE — A UPS driver abducted during a carjacking on Thursday is being lauded for having nerves of steel.
The armed carjackers seized his delivery truck and forced him to drive it, with law enforcement officers in pursuit. But he drove slowly so that the police could keep up and then, in an attempt to derail his captors’ escape, purposely hit the metal spikes officers had placed on the road.
“When you are accosted, taken at gunpoint, and made to drive, like something that comes out in the movies, you can’t train for the calmness that man had,” San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia said.
Police say the UPS driver was caught in the middle of a violent sequence that began with a chance encounter at a South San Jose transit station and ended with the fatal shooting of a suspect by police Thursday night.
Sources identified the man who was killed as Mark Morasky of Saratoga. Morasky was on parole after serving four years in prison for a 2012 carjacking and two robberies in San Jose and Saratoga, court records show.
Garcia said Morasky and Joanna Mae Macy-Rogers, 23, were inside a black SUV, parked illegally at the Valley Transportation Authority light-rail station at Pearl and Chynoweth avenues around 5 p.m. Thursday. The SUV attracted the attention of plainclothes deputies with the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office provides transit police for VTA.
As the deputies approached the vehicle to issue a ticket, the car’s occupants spotted them and drove away. A few minutes later, when the deputies caught up to the SUV, Macy-Rogers fired at them with a shotgun, Garcia said.
The car entered Highway 87 and Macy-Rogers allegedly fired multiple times at law enforcement officers who were in pursuit, which now included San Jose Police Department officers and a police helicopter.
“Several rounds struck the sheriff’s vehicle,” Garcia said. “Deputies were not injured and did not return fire.”
At some point, the fleeing SUV drove the wrong way on the freeway before exiting at Curtner Avenue, toward Communications Hill, Garcia said. The suspects abandoned their vehicle, saw the UPS truck and threatened the driver with the shotgun, then forced him to drive them in his truck.
Around 6 p.m. Thursday, the truck made it to North First Street and Trimble Road where dozens of police cars immediately surrounded it.
Soon after, the UPS worker was released, and Macy-Rogers also left the truck and surrendered to police. At one point, friends of Morasky went to the scene and told police that they were in contact with the suspect by phone. Referring to the “three strikes” law that mandated life imprisonment for multiple felony offenders, the friends told reporters that Morasky was a “two-striker” who wanted to surrender.
Garcia said police did have brief phone contact with Morasky, but did not comment on whether he signaled any intention to give up.
“He had every opportunity to give up peacefully, and he chose not to,” Garcia said.
Just before 7 p.m., Morasky started the truck and drove it a few feet. As police maneuvered two armored vehicles into the truck’s path, he jumped out of the truck, carrying the shotgun, and tried to flee.
Then, in a scene partially captured by television cameras, Garcia said a San Jose police officer fired a single shot that hit and killed the suspect as he ran “toward officers and civilians.”
Matthew O’Connor, a spokesman for UPS, declined to identify the driver or comment on his actions, but said the company was providing support for him and for other employees who work with him.
“We’re giving our driver some privacy after yesterday’s incident, and we’re offering grief counseling to the driver and our other employees in the area,” he said.
The officer who opened fire, described as a 12-year veteran with the SJPD, was placed on paid administrative leave. As is the case with every officer-involved shooting in the county, an investigation was launched by the police department in conjunction with the District Attorney’s Office, with the DA’s office expected to issue a report in six to eight months.
Macy-Rogers was booked into the Santa Clara County jail on suspicion of attempted murder of a police officer, carjacking, kidnapping and shooting at an occupied vehicle.
Besides driving into the police-laid spike strips, Garcia said the UPS driver apparently convinced his abductors that the delivery truck was equipped with a device that prevented it from going over 50 mph.
“The things this guy did, it’s pretty amazing stuff,” he said. “He definitely saved lives, including his own.”
Staff writers Nico Savidge, Mark Gomez, George Avalos, and George Kelly contributed to this report.