19-year-old struggled with mental health before Sunnyvale police shot and killed him

A 19-year-old man is dead after a police shooting in Sunnyvale over the weekend, and today police are sharing more details on what happened that night. 

The Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety says officers were called to the Plaza Del Rey mobile home park Saturday on the report of a man with a knife.

The report came in of a man with a knife running naked through a mobile home park, and it ended with a deadly shooting. Police later learned that the man had called 911 on himself. 

"I want to clarify that it wasn't until later in the phone [call] that the dispatcher was able to put together the information that the subject was the reporting party," Sunnyvale DPS Chief Phan Ngo said at a press conference on Friday. 

The police also gave the public its first look and listen to the 911 tape and the body-cam footage from the night of the shooting.

When the dispatcher recognized that the man with the knife was also the caller, she instructed him to put the knife down, saying, "Manny can you drop the knife please? Can you hear me? I want you to put the knife down."


Emmanuel Perez 

The man on the phone was later identified as 19-year-old Emmanuel Perez. His family says Perez struggled with his mental health, especially after the pandemic. They also say police already knew him.

Police confirmed to KTVU that they had been to Perez's home on two other occasions. The first was in 2021 when Perez was a victim of a crime. The second police visit was in 2022, which Ngo said was a "non-criminal contact."  The family says the second interaction was when police took Perez to the hospital for a mental health crisis.

The edited body and dashcam video of the shooting was released Friday. 

Video shows police arrive to the scene when they first spot Perez walking through the mobile home community. Officer Kevin Lemor, who has been with Sunnyvale DPS for three and a half years, is on foot while another officer was inside a police cruiser close by. 

The officers can be heard asking Perez to drop the knife via loudspeaker several times, but Perez does not appear to follow the commands. 

Video shows as Perez appears to walk towards Lemor with the knife.  Lemor can be heard saying, "Drop the knife...stop right there…I'm gonna shoot you if you don't stop... stop right there..." Then Lemor fires. 

Perez was struck twice in the torso, according to Sunnyvale DPS. The police chief says he cannot comment on whether officers are trained to take deadly aim in these scenarios, due to the status of the investigation. 

However, Ngo did confirm that Sunnyvale DPS officers are equipped with batons, tasers and pepper spray as non-lethal methods of force. He could not comment on why these non-lethal methods weren't used. 

Perez's family said they are not medical or law enforcement experts, and they are awaiting the results of the police investigation to form their opinions of what happened that night. 

For now, they grieve the loss of their loved one, saying, "We remember him as a gentle and family-oriented young man. While he was already working with peers and health care providers to manage his mental health, he was never one to shy away from asking for help," the family said. 

The family said Perez was still healing from pandemic impacts, and they are saddened that his ability to try to 'return to normalcy' is now gone.