Three San Antonio police officers charged with murder for killing woman who suffered mental health crisis
Photo: Larry W. Smith/Getty Images
Three San Antonio, Texas police officers have been charged with murder in the death of a woman who was experiencing a "mental health crisis."according to the authorities.
Sergeant Alfred Flores and officers Eleazar Alejandro and Nathaniel Villalobos were initially suspended without pay and later arrested for the shooting death of 46-year-old Melissa Perez.
"The officers' actions were not consistent with SAPD policy and training," Police Chief William McManus said during a news conference Friday.
“They put themselves in a situation where they used deadly force that was unreasonable given all the circumstances as we now understand them,” McManus said.
The police chief explained that officers went to the victim's home, but she refused to leave the apartment. During the events, one of the officers opened fire after Perez first threw a glass chandelier at the officers and then threw a hammer at them.
The three officers fired when Perez approached them again with the hammer.hitting her at least twice, according to McManus.
perez she was suspected of cutting the wires of a fire alarma felony, at the apartment complex and was speaking with firefighters around 12:30 a.m. Friday when an officer approached and tried to get him to walk toward a patrol car, McManus said.
In the body camera video, an officer is heard saying “hey ma'am, come here,” to which Perez refuses and runs off to his apartment.
“It appeared that Ms. Perez was having a mental health crisis,” McManus said without offering further explanation.
The video then shows an officer in the courtyard of Perez's apartment removing a screen from the window as Perez yells "enough" and "you don't have any warrants."
An unidentified officer yells "they're going to shoot you," to which Pérez replies "shoot me, you don't have a warrant."
Later the sound of breaking glass is heard followed by two volleys of gunshots.
McManus said that An investigation into the shooting is underway. by the internal affairs and civil rights divisions of the police department and the civil rights division of the Bexar county district attorney.
Other officers were also at the scene, but none are expected to be charged, though all will be investigated for their actions, McManus said.
“This incident will continue to be fully investigated, as will all officer-involved shootings,” McManus added while expressing his condolences to Perez's family.
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