The San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) said three officers have been charged with murder in connection with the early Friday morning shooting death of a lady in her apartment on the city’s Southwest Side. Officers Eleazar Alejandro and Nathaniel Villalobos and Sergeant Alfred Flores stand accused of murder in the death of Melissa Perez, 46.
Three people were arrested late on Friday and freed on bond the following day. Chief William McManus of the San Antonio Police Department stated on Friday night that the officers “used deadly force, which was not reasonable given all the circumstances as we now understand them.”
McManus claimed that officers shot Perez through a patio window and door because she was having a mental health crisis and was holding a hammer. On Friday night, the department released a clip from the officers’ body-worn cameras that had been altered and blurred. KSAT has asked for any and all related footage.
When asked about the cops, SAPD initially indicated they were “terminated.” Another time, the department claimed they were placed on unpaid suspension. KSAT wants some further explanation.
The tweet below verifies the news:
I will repeat this again until lawmakers get it: everyone is ONE mental health crisis away from a bad interaction with police or the legal system.
Thinking of Melissa’s family tonight. https://t.co/wqZkgENRph
— MI Rights Count Project (@CountRights) June 25, 2023
Since the murder charges have been filed, three independent investigations have begun: one each by the SAPD’s Internal Affairs and Homicide sections and the Civil Rights Division of the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office. What we know about Perez, the police, the shooting, and the body camera footage is detailed in this piece.
Who is Melissa Perez?
Alexis Tovar, Perez’s daughter, issued a statement to ABC News on Saturday afternoon through her attorney Dan Packard. “We have always been a pro-police family. This breaks my heart. I always trusted the police to protect me and now I don’t know who to trust. We can’t express how hurt we are,” Tovar’s statement said.
A photo of Perez was also published by the Packard Law Firm. On Friday morning, KSAT visited the shooting area and spoke with nearby residents. Next-door neighbor Ruben Veloz claims he didn’t realize anything was wrong until he departed for work several hours after Perez’s disappearance.
“I was asleep,” he told KSAT. “I looked over, I saw windows broken and I was just, like, ‘Ok, what’s going on?’” Veloz and another neighbor both expressed horror at the news of Perez’s death and questioned the circumstances surrounding the incident. “I don’t know, like, the whole story of what happened, but to me she was always nice. I don’t know about everybody else,” Veloz said.
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What San Antonio Police have Said About the Shooting
The Rosemont at Miller’s Pond apartments on the 6200 block of Old Pearsall Road were the scene of a shooting early on Friday morning. A lady, later identified as Perez, was reported to police for vandalizing apartments there. Chief McManus claims that Perez was suffering a mental health crisis and slashed wires in the building’s fire alarm system.
When police arrived, they found Perez in the parking lot having a conversation with members of the San Antonio Fire Department. According to McManus, she barricaded herself inside her flat as they approached. McManus stated that when police sought to communicate with Perez via a window, she hurled a glass candle, hitting one officer in the arm.
Officers Flores, Alejandro, and Villalobos approached Perez’s apartment’s rear terrace in an attempt to convince him to come out. Two of the three police officers climbed over the fence and spoke to Perez via the open window and door on the patio. McManus claimed that the screen had been taken from the open window by police.
He indicated that felony criminal mischief was being investigated as a possible motive. Officers reported that Perez had a hammer and was “approaching them from inside,” according to McManus’s statement. According to McManus, she swung the hammer at the police and smashed the window that separated her apartment from the patio.
McManus stated that it did not appear that Perez was hit by the round fired by one of the cops at her. McManus claims that all three police officers opened fire when Perez advanced again toward the window while brandishing the hammer. At least twice, Perez took blows to the body.
According to McManus, the police broke into the flat and began rendering aid before the arrival of emergency medical services. Perez was pronounced dead at the scene from her wounds. McManus expressed sympathy for Melissa Perez’s loved ones, saying, “Our condolences to her entire family.”
McManus also promised Perez’s daughter that the event would be reviewed carefully. According to him, the probe has not yet been given a definitive end date.
Who are the Officers Charged with Murder?
Sgt. Alfred Flores, Officer Eleazar Alejandro, and Officer Nathaniel Villalobos of the San Antonio Police Department have been charged with Perez’s murder. According to McManus, Flores has been a police officer for 14 years, Alejandro for five years, and Villalobos for two.
According to the court records of Bexar County, Texas, each of the police officers has been charged with murder. A total of $100,000 was put on their bonds. All three police officers have posted bond and been freed from the Bexar County Jail pending trial as of Saturday morning.
The officers’ behavior was inconsistent with SAPD’s policies and guidelines. “Given what we know now, it was not reasonable for them to put themselves in a position where they had to use deadly force,” McManus said.
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