Jun 26, 2023 - News

3 San Antonio police officers charged with murder in shooting

Three San Antonio police officers opened fire on a woman inside her apartment. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Photo: Bodycam screenshot courtesy of San Antonio Police Department

Three San Antonio police officers have been charged with murder after they shot and killed a woman who was inside her apartment.

  • The woman, identified as 46-year-old Melissa Perez, wielded a hammer at one point and appeared to be "having a mental health crisis," police chief William McManus said.

The latest: Perez's family intends to sue the city over her death, the Express-News reported Sunday.

  • "It’s something you can never unsee. It hurts," Perez's daughter Alexis Tovar told reporters Sunday, per the Express-News.
  • The Police Department released narrated and raw video footage from the incident.

What happened: Officers received a call early Friday morning about a woman cutting wires to a fire alarm system at her Southwest Side apartment complex, McManus said.

The following events occurred, according to police Lt. Michelle Ramos:

  • When officers arrived, Perez went inside her first-floor apartment and locked the door.
  • Officers followed her and removed a screen to an open window, attempting to arrest her.
  • Perez threw a glass candle at an officer, striking him on the arm, causing minor injuries.
  • Officers spoke with her through the window for more than a half-hour.
  • As officers jumped a railing onto the apartment patio, Perez ran toward the window with a hammer and shattered it.
  • One officer opened fire, but didn't appear to hit her.
  • Perez then moved toward the glass patio door with the hammer, and the officer who fired previously and two other officers opened fire.

Details: Emergency medical services pronounced Perez dead at the scene, McManus said.

  • Officers Alfred Flores, Eleazar Alejandro and Nathaniel Villalobos are charged with murder and suspended without pay. They have 14, five and two years, respectively, with the Police Department.

What they're saying: "The shooting officers' actions were not consistent with SAPD's policy and training," McManus said at a late Friday news conference. "They placed themselves in a situation where they used deadly force, which was not reasonable given all the circumstances as we now understand them."

  • "This event does not accurately reflect the high level of dedication and commitment demonstrated by our over 2,500 officers," McManus said.
  • "This was absolutely an avoidable death and murder by tenured officers," East Side Councilmember Jalen McKee-Rodriguez said on Twitter Sunday. "Had it not been for community advocates who led the charge for police accountability through Prop B in 2021, we’d never see this fast a murder charge."
  • "We acknowledge the speed in which these officers have been charged, but let's be honest — this senseless loss of life should never have occurred," local police reform nonprofit Act 4 SA said in a statement.
  • Act 4 SA questioned why the city's mental health unit was not dispatched for the call.

What's next: Investigations are underway by the Police Department's internal affairs and homicide units and by the Bexar County District Attorney's Office Civil Rights Division.


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