(SAN ANTONIO) — Murder charges were filed Friday against three members of the San Antonio Police Department after they allegedly shot and killed a woman in her apartment, the department said.
Melissa Perez, 46, was shot and killed by the officers after they responded to a call about a woman destroying property, police said.
The officers — Sgt. Alfred Flores, Officer Eleazar Alejandro and Officer Nathaniel Villalobos — were suspended following a review of the shooting, the department said in a statement late Friday.
Their “actions are not consistent with SAPD’s policy training and they placed themselves in a situation where they used deadly force which was not reasonable given all the circumstances as we now understand them,” Chief William McManus said during a press conference.
The officers had been dispatched at about 12:27 a.m. to an apartment complex on the city’s southwest side after a report of vandalism, Lt. Michelle Ramos said in a video released by the department. A woman was said to have “cut wires to an alarm panel” for the apartment complex, Ramos said.
Officers arriving at the scene made contact with Perez outside and identified her, Ramos said, providing voice-over narration for body camera video from the officers.
“It appears that Ms. Perez was having a mental health crisis,” McManus said. “Officers attempted to get her to walk toward their patrol car, but she ran back to her apartment and she locked the door.”
The officers had determined that the cutting of the alarm wires was a felony, McManus said.
Video released by the department appears to show an officer then climbing over a railing onto the patio of Perez’s first-floor apartment. The officer in the video attempts to open the door.
Then, “attempting to arrest the woman, officers open the screen to the window that was already open,” Ramos said.
Perez then allegedly picked up a hammer, Ramos said. The officer then drew his gun, she said.
“The woman, while inside her home, threw a glass candle at the officers, striking an officer in the arm, causing minor injuries,” Ramos said.
Perez and the officers then “communicated” through the open window for about a half-hour, according to police. One of the officers then climbed back over the railing toward the door, Ramos said. Perez then allegedly smashed a window on the door with the hammer, police said.
“One officer fired multiple rounds toward the woman, but it did not appear she was struck by the gunfire,” Ramos said.
Perez then “moved away” before returning to the door “with the hammer in her hand,” Ramos said.
“At this time, two other officers shot toward the woman — along with the first officer who fired the first round of gunshots,” Ramos said. “The woman was struck by the gunfire and later pronounced deceased by EMS. No one, other than the woman, was injured by the gunfire.”
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