Three San Antonio police officers have been charged with murder in the fatal shooting of a woman who was suffering what the city’s police chief said was a “mental health crisis.”
Sergeant Alfred Flores and officers Eleazar Alejandro and Nathaniel Villalobos were fired without pay and later arrested on murder warrants after Melissa Perez, 46, was shot and killed after she refused police orders to come out of her apartment, he said Friday.
“The officers’ actions were inconsistent with SAPD’s policy and training,” McManus said during a news conference Friday night.
“They put themselves in a situation where they used deadly force, which is not justified in all circumstances, and we now understand them,” McManus said.
Posted by the San Antonio Police Department YouTube video He described the incident on Friday.
According to McManus, one of the three accused officers opened fire, with Perez first throwing a glass candle at the officers and then throwing a hammer at them. All three officers opened fire when Perez approached them again with the hammer, hitting her at least twice, according to McManus.
Perez was suspected of cutting the wires to sound a fire alarm at the apartment complex, and was talking to fire officials around 12:30 a.m. Friday when an officer approached and tried to get her to walk toward a patrol car, McManus said.
While Perez was talking to a fire department officer outside the complex, an unidentified officer approached and was heard on camera video calling out, “Hey lady, come here,” Perez refused and left.
“Miss Perez appeared to be having a mental crisis,” McManus said without elaborating, then ran into her apartment.
The video shows an officer on the patio of Perez’s apartment removing a window screen.
An unidentified officer yells “You’re going to shoot,” to which Perez replies, “Shoot me – you got no warrant.”
The sound of breaking glass was then heard followed by two volleys of gunfire.
Perez was pronounced dead at the scene by EMS.
McManus took no questions, citing investigations into the shooting.
Both the SAPD Shooting Task Force and the Internal Affairs Division are conducting separate investigations, and their findings will be forwarded to the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office for an independent review, SAPD said.
Other officers were also at the scene, but none are expected to be charged, although all will be questioned for their actions, McManus said.
“As with all officer-involved shootings, this incident will continue to be fully investigated,” McManus said while offering condolences to Perez’s family.
Flores has been with SAPD for 14 years, while Alejandro and Villalobos have been with the department for five and two years, respectively. According to CBS affiliate KENS 5. All three were held on $100,000 bonds. Saturday morning, KENS 5 reported that all three had bonded out of jail.