Apr 29, 2024 - News

Deadly shooting prompts security changes for Fiesta Market Square

A cloudy blue sky over last year's Fiesta event in Market Square, with signs for mini tacos.

A scene from last year's Fiesta de los Reyes event at Market Square. Photo: Megan Stringer/Axios

San Antonio police and Fiesta organizers plan to beef up security next year at the annual Fiesta de los Reyes event at Market Square following a deadly shooting there over the weekend, police tell Axios.

Why it matters: The shooting was the second at the free Market Square Fiesta event in two years. Last year, a man was shot and critically injured.

Catch up quick: Two people at Market Square shot at each other in the middle of Margarita Alley early Sunday, police chief William McManus said.

  • One of the men died from his injuries, and police shot and killed the other man involved in the shooting, KSAT reported.
  • Four bystanders were injured, according to police — two were treated at a hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, and the other two were treated at the scene for minor injuries.

How it works: The city works with Fiesta event organizers every year to develop security plans, police spokesperson Michelle Ramos tells Axios.

  • Police officers were stationed at Market Square when the weekend shooting broke out, but Ramos declined to say how many.
  • The city and the Rey Feo Consejo Educational Foundation put on the event.

The latest: The Police Department and the city will review safety measures and make "enhanced" security recommendations for next year's event, Ramos says.

  • "You can be assured that you will be checked for weapons as you walk into Market Square" next year, McManus said in a video update Monday night. "And if you're carrying backpacks or bags, they'll be checked as well."

State of play: Different Fiesta events have various security protocols and bag rules depending on the venue. Some events allow only small or clear bags. Others require a search and security screen before entry.

  • Fiesta organizers "spend many hours developing and implementing their safety and security plans, and several have been recognized nationally and internationally as some of the best for festivals and events," the Fiesta Commission says on its website.

Zoom in: Community members questioned those security plans in social media posts over the weekend.

  • "Time to totally re-evaluate Market Square fiesta activities & security," one person posted on X.
  • "You need to change your entire entry process when there's city wide celebrations," a commenter said on the Fiesta de los Reyes Facebook page. "I don't like to see that happen, but if safety is truly your top priority, then major changes need to be made."
  • Some commenters also called for a future entry fee to Fiesta de los Reyes — currently one of a handful of free Fiesta events — and earlier end times.

The shooting reportedly broke out just after midnight. The next day, Fiesta de los Reyes ended an hour earlier than usual, at 11pm.

  • "Safety is and always will remain our top priority," organizers said in a Facebook post. "Our deepest condolences go out to the families and friends of those affected by this senseless violence."

Zoom out: Homicides, and other violent crimes, adown so far in 2024 compared to last year, with a 37% drop.

What they're saying: District 1 Councilmember Sukh Kaur, who represents downtown, told KSAT that the city will look at security procedures for Fiesta events.

  • "I think we need to do that for all of our events," she said.
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