Three San Antonio police officers have been charged with murder in the fatal shooting of a woman who was experiencing what the city’s police chief said was a “mental health crisis,” reported The Associated Press.
Sgt. Alfred Flores and Officers Eleazar Alejandro
and Nathaniel Villalobos were suspended without pay and later arrested on
murder warrants in the shooting death of Melissa Perez, 46, when she refused
police orders to come out of her apartment, Police Chief William McManus said
“The officers’ actions were not consistent with
SAPD’s policy and training,” McManus said during a Friday night news
“They placed themselves in a situation where they
used deadly force which was not reasonable given all the circumstances as we
now understand them,” McManus said.
One of the three charged officers opened fire,
McManus said, after Perez first threw a glass candlestick at the officers then
swung a hammer at them. All three officers then fired when Perez approached
them again with the hammer, hitting her at least twice, according to McManus.
Court records do not list attorneys who could speak
on behalf of the three officers.
Perez was suspected of cutting the wires to a fire
alarm, a felony, at the apartment complex and was talking to fire officials
about 12:30 a.m. Friday when an officer approached and tried to get her to walk
toward a patrol car, McManus said.
Perez was speaking to a fire department official
outside the complex when an unidentified officer arrived and is heard on body
camera video calling “hey lady, get over here,” with Perez refusing and walking
“It appeared that Miss Perez was having a mental
health crisis,” McManus said without offering further explanation, and she then
ran into her apartment.
The video then shows an officer on the patio of
Perez’s apartment removing a window screen as Perez shouts “stop it” and “you
ain’t got no warrant.”
An unidentified officer shouts “you’re going to get
shot,” to which Perez replies “shoot me - you ain’t got no warrant.”
The sound of glass breaking is later heard followed
by two volleys of gunshots.
McManus took no questions, citing ongoing investigations
into the shooting by the police department’s Internal Affairs and Civil Rights
divisions and the Bexar County district attorney’s Civil Rights Division.
Other officers were also at the scene, but none are
expected to be charged although all will be investigated for their actions,
“This incident will continue to be thoroughly
investigated, as are all officer involved shootings,” McManus said while
expressing condolences to Perez’s family.
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