San Jose family held hostage in a deadly standoff

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San Jose police released more details about the armed man who broke into a family’s home and held three victims hostage. Police fatally shot the man. 

San Jose Police Chief Anthony Mata held a news conference Monday to talk about what led up to the home invasion, standoff, and police shooting.

The incidents began at 8:30 p.m. on March 22 when Eliobert Gonzalez-Rocha broke into an apartment on Boynton Avenue and threatened to kill the family inside. 

Mata described the incident as a “terrifying home invasion, involving an armed intruder that took a mother and her two children hostage … creating a very volatile and high risk situation.”

“The suspect was not known to the family, but he had recently been evicted from his apartment in that same complex. The man repeatedly threatened to kill them if they did not provide his keys. The suspect told the father to get out of the apartment or he would kill their family,” Mata said.

The husband followed the demands to leave and called 911. The wife, her 7-year-old son, and her 18-year-old son were held hostage. 

Officers arrived at the scene and saw the victims, as well as the suspect, through a bedroom window. Mata said officers rapidly realized they had “very little room for error.” 

The home invader was armed with several weapons, including this machete, according to police. (Image courtesy SJPD)
Gonzalez-Rocha was also armed with this machete, according to police. (Image courtesy SJPD)

The mother was able to place her youngest son inside a closet to protect him. “The suspect stood over the family and directed the mother to tie the hands of the eldest son with an electrical cord. The suspect then ordered the mother and eldest son to kneel and face away from him,” Mata said.

Officers surrounded the apartment and a standoff occurred for nearly an hour. 

Police said they made commands in English and Spanish ordering the man to surrender. Believing the mother and children’s lives were in grave danger, the SWAT team broke through the glass and one officer opened fire. 

The SJPD’s SWAT team is named Mobile Emergency Response Group and Equipment, or MERGE.

“The MERGE officer observed the suspect raised the machete towards the family and (the officer) fired at least one round, striking the suspect,” Mata said.

The mother and children were safely rescued from the home and the suspect, Gonzalez-Rocha, died in a hospital shortly after.

Gonzalez-Rocha has no criminal history in Santa Clara County. The SJPD will release officers’ body worn camera video in the coming weeks.


Charlene is a Bay Area journalist who hails from the small community of Fresno. Drawing from her experience writing for her college paper, Charlene continues to advocate for free press and local journalism. She also volunteers in all the beach cleanups she can because she loves the water.