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SAN JOSE – A UPS driver kidnapped during a car robbery Thursday was hailed for his nerves of steel.
The armed car pirates grabbed his delivery truck and forced him to drive him, followed by law enforcement officers. But he drove slowly for the police to follow, then, in order to defeat the escape of his captors, he deliberately hit the metal spikes that the police had placed on the road.
"When you're approached, caught at arm's length and forced to drive, as if something is coming out in the movies, you can not train that man's calm," said San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia.
Police said that the UPS driver had been caught in the middle of a violent sequence that had begun with a chance encounter at a transit station in South San Jose and had ended with the Gun death of a suspect by the police on Thursday night.
Sources have identified the man who was killed as Mark Morasky of Saratoga. Morasky was on parole after serving a four-year sentence for a car theft in 2012 and two robberies in San Jose and Saratoga, according to the court's records.
Garcia said that 23-year-old Morasky and Joanna Mae Macy-Rogers were inside a black sport utility vehicle, illegally parked at the Valley Transportation Authority's light rail station on Pearl and Chynoweth avenues. around 5 pm Thursday. The SUV caught the attention of plainclothes MPs from the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office. The sheriff's office provides the transit police for the VTA.
When the deputy ministers approached the vehicle to issue a ticket, the occupants of the vehicle spotted them and left. Minutes later, when MPs caught up with the SUV, Macy-Rogers shot them with a shotgun, Garcia said.
The car entered Highway 87 and Macy-Rogers reportedly fired several times at law enforcement officers in pursuit, which now included officers from the San Jose Police Department and a police helicopter.
"Several shots have reached the sheriff's vehicle," Garcia said. "The deputies were not injured and did not retaliate."
At one point, the fleeing SUV took the wrong path on the highway before leaving Curtner Avenue, heading to 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 him into his truck.
Around 6 pm Thursday, the truck went into North First Street and Trimble Road, where dozens of police cars immediately surrounded him.
Shortly after, the UPS worker was released and Macy-Rogers also left the truck and went to the police. At one point, Morasky's friends went to the scene and told the police that they were in contact with the suspect by phone. Referring to the law on the "three strikes" which provided for life imprisonment for several perpetrators, the friends told reporters that Morasky was a "two striker" who wanted to surrender.
Garcia said the police had brief phone contacts with Morasky, but had not said he had expressed an intention to quit.
"He had every opportunity to peacefully give up and he chose not to do it," Garcia said.
Shortly before 7 pm, Morasky started the truck and drove it for a few feet. As the police maneuvered two armored vehicles on the truck, he jumped off the truck carrying the shotgun and tried to flee.
Then, in a scene partially captured by television cameras, Garcia said that a San Jose police officer had fired a single shot that had touched and killed the suspect while he was running towards 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, as well as other employees working with him.
"We give our driver a bit of privacy after yesterday's incident, and we offer bereavement counseling to the driver and our other employees in the area," he said.
The officer who opened fire, described as a 12-year veteran of the SJPD, was put on paid administrative leave. As in the case of all shootings involving officers in the county, an investigation was initiated by the police department in conjunction with the district attorney's office, with the prosecutor's office scheduled to issue a report in six to eight months.
Macy Rogers was sentenced to Santa Clara County Jail for attempting to kill a police officer, hijacking a car, kidnapping and shooting a busy vehicle.
Garcia said that the UPS driver had apparently convinced his captors that the delivery truck was equipped with a device preventing him from reaching speeds above 50 mph.
"What this guy did, it's pretty amazing," he said. "He definitely saved lives, including his own."
Staff writers Nico Savidge, Mark Gomez, George Avalos and George Kelly contributed to this report.