SAN JOSE – A Monterey County man was arrested Wednesday after driving into San Jose with a pistol and assault rifle.
The man, who was identified as 21-year-old Hunter Tital at the seaside, was discovered by police officers in front of the Nordstrom department store in San Jose late that afternoon and surrendered non-violently, police said. At around 4 p.m., San Jose police said they had been notified by the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office of a Snapchat post from Tital in which he reportedly alleged the shooting.
Valley Fair Suspect Hunter Tital. 21 years old, residing in Seaside. Booked for numerous criminal offenses including possession of an assault rifle and criminal threats. We’re still investigating its motive. pic.twitter.com/eCc65VAN70
– San Jose Police Department Media Relations (@SJPD_PIO) February 4, 2021
This sparked a violent reaction from SJPD and Santa Clara police – the two authorities share responsibility for the mall, which is bisected by the city limits – and officials found Tital in about 45 minutes. It wasn’t immediately clear how long he’d been in the mall before.
Police said Tital had a hidden firearm on him when he was arrested, and a review of the arrest records revealed that it was a pistol that was shown in a photo tweeted by SJPD. After his arrest, police surrounded Tital’s car parked at the western end of the mall for hours and bomb squad technicians and a bombing robot examined the vehicle.
They would eventually reclaim a short barrel tactical pistol grip rifle and 300 AAC blackout cartridges to improve the performance of rifle ammunition in a more compact size. The police characterized the weapon as an assault rifle and “ghost rifle” or composed of prefabricated parts that can make it undetectable.
Tital was sent to Elmwood Men’s Prison on suspicion of making criminal threats, possessing a hidden firearm, carrying a loaded firearm in public, and owning an assault rifle. He was held on Thursday on bail for $ 200,000.
The Coast Police and Sunnyvale Public Security Division were also involved in the police response to the threat on Wednesday. In a statement, Westfield commended security forces and officials for “their prompt and heroic response,” which was confirmed by San Jose police.
“Timely information combined with the quick and courageous response of our officers and the Santa Clara Police Department prevented a potentially tragic incident,” acting chief David Tindall said in a statement.
In addition to frayed nerves, several mall employees reached out to social media to complain that they were not paying attention to what was going on, in some cases just a few doors down from the Nordstrom entrance on the second floor. Cordelia Madrid, who worked in Dr. Marten works, said she didn’t notice the situation until after it ended.
“We only found out today that he is so close to my business,” Madrid said on Thursday.
In a statement intended for shopping mall workers, San Jose police said they wanted to approach the suspect quickly without notifying him of store closures or to cause mass chaos based on a threat related to this one Time consisted of a social media post rather than a tangible shooter sighting.
“In this case, an announcement could have been more dangerous for everyone involved. Any trigger for the suspect could have been the trigger for a violent act, “the statement said. “He was unable to carry out a possible plan while being surprised when officials approached him.”
Madrid said they understood the concern, but added that even an unspecified keep-informed instruction would have been helpful if only to prevent people from inadvertently getting into confrontation.
“It doesn’t have to be language that could cause a lot of fear,” she said. “I think it’s just too big a risk.”
Valley Fair was the target of a mass shooting threat on social media about a year ago, but has been viewed as a “swatting” attempt when a person deliberately tries to provoke a large police response in a location as a provocation or retaliation act.
SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 3: Officials from the San Jose Police Department rappel down an area on the west side of the Westfield Valley Fair Mall in Santa Clara, California on Wednesday, February 3, 2021. (Nhat V. Meyer / Bay Area News Group)