Three San Antonio police officers have been charged with murder in connection with the fatal shooting of a woman, as confirmed by the city’s Police Chief, William McManus, Your Content has learned.
The incident occurred during an encounter with the woman, who was reportedly going through a “mental health crisis.”
Sgt. Alfred Flores and Officers Eleazar Alejandro and Nathaniel Villalobos have been suspended without pay and subsequently arrested on murder charges.
Melissa Perez, 46, lost her life when she refused to comply with police directives to exit her apartment, according to Chief McManus, who made the announcement during a press conference on Friday.
McManus stated, “The officers’ actions were not consistent with SAPD’s policy and training. They placed themselves in a situation where they used deadly force, which was not reasonable given all the circumstances as we now understand them.”
Based on the police chief’s account, one of the officers opened fire after Perez allegedly threw a glass candlestick at the officers and subsequently swung a hammer at them.
At this time, no attorneys representing the accused officers have been listed in court records.
The incident began when Perez was suspected of tampering with a fire alarm at the apartment complex.
As she conversed with fire officials around 12:30 a.m. on Friday, an officer approached her, urging her to move towards a patrol car. Perez, however, refused and walked away.
McManus stated, “It appeared that Miss Perez was having a mental health crisis,” without providing further details. Perez then retreated into her apartment after the encounter.
The sound of breaking glass is heard, followed by two rounds of gunshots.
Due to ongoing investigations by the Internal Affairs and Civil Rights divisions of the police department, as well as the Bexar County District Attorney’s Civil Rights Division, Chief McManus refrained from answering questions during the press conference.
While other officers were present at the scene, it is not anticipated that they will face charges. Nevertheless, all their actions will be thoroughly examined as part of the investigation, according to Chief McManus.
He expressed condolences to the family of Melissa Perez and emphasized that the incident would continue to be carefully scrutinized, as is the case with all officer-involved shootings, according to U.S. News.