Three San Antonio police officers are facing murder charges after the unfortunate event of the fatal shooting of Melissa Perez, a woman who was said to be going through a mental health crisis, CBS News reported.
Woman Shot To Death by San Antonio Police Officers
The officers, identified as Sgt. Alfred Flores and Officers Eleazar Alejandro and Nathaniel Villalobos, have been suspended without pay and arrested on murder warrants.
San Antonio Police Chief William McManus addressed the incident during a news conference, stating that the officer’s actions were not consistent with the department’s policy and training. He emphasized that the use of deadly force was not reasonable given the circumstances as they are now understood.
The San Antonio Police Department released a YouTube video that provides details of the incident. According to Chief McManus, Perez threw a glass candlestick at the officers and then swung a hammer at them. In response, all three officers opened fire when Perez approached them again with the hammer, resulting in her being hit at least twice.
The encounter began when an officer approached Perez, who was suspected of cutting the wires to a fire alarm at an apartment complex. It appeared that Perez was in a mental health crisis, according to Chief McManus, but he did not provide further explanation.
Perez then ran into her apartment, leading to the confrontation that ultimately ended in her tragic death.
The shooting is currently under investigation by the SAPD Shooting Team and the Internal Affairs Unit. Their findings will be independently reviewed by the Bexar County District Attorney’s office. While other officers were present at the scene, no additional charges are expected at this time, although their actions will be thoroughly investigated.
San Antonio Police Investigation
Chief McManus expressed his condolences to Perez’s family and emphasized the importance of thoroughly investigating all officer-involved shootings.
The three officers involved in the incident have been with the department for varying lengths of time and were held on $100,000 bonds, though they have since bonded out of jail.
This incident serves as a reminder of the need for effective training and protocols for law enforcement officers when responding to individuals in mental health crises. The tragic loss of Melissa Perez’s life highlights the importance of promoting alternatives to the use of deadly force and ensuring that mental health support is readily available in such situations.