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SAN JOSE — Santa Clara County District Attorney George Kennedy said Wednesday he would seek to open to the public grand jury proceedings into the police shooting of a 25-year-old Vietnamese woman killed in her home Sunday night. Police say Cau Thi Tran was shot and killed in her home after she gestured at officers with a kitchen cleaver moments after they entered her home. Family members said the implement was a vegetable peeler common in Vietnamese homes. Kennedy said Wednesday that he will ask the jury foreperson to join him in requesting a public hearing. Santa Clara County Superior Court Presiding Judge Thomas Hansen will make the ultimate decision, Kennedy said. All police shootings in Santa Clara County are presented to the grand jury for investigation. The last time one was opened to the public was in 1997. There have been 17 officer-involved shootings in San Jose alone since 1999. “It looks like it’s something that has become of sufficient concern to the community that a public hearing of the evidence will have a beneficial impact,” Kennedy said. “If it happens in a closed session, the public will be second-guessing the evidence. It’s much healthier for the community to see the evidence first hand.” On Tuesday, in an attempt to quell growing criticism of the shooting, police took the unusual step of displaying to the press the kitchen implement Tran had wielded. According to police accounts, two officers were responding to a 911 call of a child wandering unattended near busy Taylor Street in San Jose. Police found no children in the street but heard screaming from the house. Officers knocked on the door, and Tran’s boyfriend let the two officers into the couple’s San Jose apartment, saying Tran was “going crazy.” Police confirm that within a minute of entering the apartment, Officer Chad Marshall fired one 9 mm bullet at Tran as Officer Tom Mun ushered the rest of the family to the other side of the apartment. Police say Marshall ordered Tran to drop the weapon before firing. Kennedy said he made up his mind about opening the proceeding after seeing the shooting “exploding in the media.” The last time there was a public hearing followed the 1996 shooting of Gustavo Soto Mesa by Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Deputy Tom Langley. In that case, which was followed closely in the Latino community, the grand jury declined to indict. Kennedy said he was disappointed that in the Langley case, the evidence made public didn’t change the minds of police critics. But, he said, “at least there was a beneficial impact of having representatives of the media there. The media changed their tune, and they were objective.” San Jose Deputy Police Chief Rob Davis said that while keeping the proceedings behind closed doors protects the privacy of the victims and police officers’ families, the department had no objections to opening this case up to scrutiny. “It may be extremely educational for the community to understand the split-second decisions that officers have to make when they are confronting mentally unstable individuals.” Felicita Ngo, a lawyer representing the dead woman’s family, also welcomes a public hearing. “I think that it would be more out in the open, where we can get the information out,” said Ngo, adding that a civil suit is a possibility. “Right now we are investigating the case, but we have not made a decision if we will file a wrongful death suit or not,” Ngo said.

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