Police were called to the home after the couple’s son called 911 and told dispatchers that his parents had been shot and that his brother was still in the house with the gunman
Today at 9:43 AM
By Mark Gomez and Eric Kurhi
The Mercury News
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A mentally ill young man, apparently bent on revenge after a failed romance, gunned down his ex-girlfriend’s parents in their Willow Glen home and held their 13-year-old son hostage, police said Thursday, in a rare double killing that unsettled residents.
The boy’s father was shot at the front door and police later found his mother inside the home. Neighbors who saw the boy shortly after his release, clad only in shorts and shoes, said he was trembling and sobbing as an officer tried to comfort him.
The incident began shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday and ended after a two-hour standoff that was marked by negotiations over the boy’s release and ended when the 24-year-old gunman was shot by a San Jose police special tactics marksman after he pointed his weapon at officers from inside the home.
Police said the gunman had been in a relationship that ended last year with the victims’ daughter, and since then he’d been the subject of a restraining order. San Jose police Chief Eddie Garcia said “the extent of how that really got to this individual remains to be investigated and thoroughly vetted out.”
But a source familiar with the investigation said Thursday that the suspect killed her parents as payback.
In a chilling phone conversation with police during the standoff, the man said he killed her parents to cause her pain, just as she had caused him pain by breaking up with him, the source said.
Garcia called it “a tragic incident perpetrated by evil,” adding that the man has a history of mental illness, domestic violence and driving under the influence. He said police don’t know where the man got the handgun that was used in the crime, but it was not registered to him.
Police were called to the home after the couple’s 20-year-old son rushed out to the street and called 911, telling dispatchers that his father had been shot, possibly his mother, too, and that his little brother was still in the house with the gunman.
As officers flooded the area around Laura Ville Lane — a private cul-de-sac of large, expensive homes a few blocks from downtown Willow Glen — the slain father’s body could be seen in the doorway, said Garcia. They brought in the special tactics team as well as negotiators to try to talk the suspect into surrendering, and at some point during those talks the teen boy was released.
Police released little information Thursday about the victims or the 24-year-old man killed by the sharpshooter, the second officer-involved shooting in as many days.
ABC7 News, this newspaper’s media partner, identified the father as Naren Prabhu, a vice president of engineering at Sunnyvale-based Juniper Networks.
After the teen was released, negotiators continued to try to get the man to give up, but when he pointed a handgun from inside the house at officers outside, an officer with the MERGE unit — San Jose’s SWAT — shot and killed him, police said. The officer, who has 17 years’ experience with San Jose police, was placed on routine paid administrative leave.
Gail Kefauver, who has lived in the neighborhood for more than 30 years, repeated a sentiment expressed by many neighbors — this isn’t the sort of thing that happens in Willow Glen.
“We heard the shots, we figured it was kids with fireworks,” she said, “because why would we suspect gunshots? But then we heard a crashing sound and thought maybe it’s something more serious.”
Kefauver went out onto her back deck and yelled, “Is everyone OK?” but got no response. She noticed a black, smaller-model SUV parked in the cul-de-sac in front of the home, driver’s door open “like someone was in a big rush.”
The car remained there, door open, until being towed the next morning, she said.
“It’s just so heartbreaking,” Kefauver said. “Those poor kids, that poor girl whose ex-boyfriend it was. It’s just terrible.”
Garcia called it a “horrible, horrible” crime.
“Again, dealing with someone who is mentally ill, who had choices. And he didn’t give this family choices. He didn’t give my officer a choice.”
Staff writers Jason Green and Tracey Kaplan contributed to this report.
©2017 the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)