3 San Antonio officers charged with murder in fatal shooting of woman at her apartment

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CNN
 — 

Three San Antonio police officers were charged with murder on Friday less than 24 hours after they fatally shot a woman during a police call, the police chief announced.

Officer Eleazar Alejandro, 28; Sgt. Alfred Flores, 45; and Officer Nathaniel Villalobos, 27, are suspended from the force without pay as the investigation continues.

“The shooting officers’ actions were not consistent with SAPD policies and 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 in a news conference Friday night.

McManus said police were responding to a call that a woman later identified as Melissa Ann Perez, 46, was cutting wires to a fire alarm system at her apartment complex.

“It appeared that Ms. Perez was having a mental health crisis,” said the chief.

After initially speaking with officers outside, Perez went back inside her apartment and locked the door, according to McManus.

Edited and blurred body camera video released by the police department shows officers continuing to talk to Perez through a rear patio window, urging her to come out.

On the body camera video, she can be heard twice saying, “You ain’t got no warrant!” One officer attempted to open the window, and McManus said Perez threw a glass candleholder at him. Police said she later swung a hammer at an officer but hit the window instead, breaking it.

According to McManus, one officer opened fire, but Perez was not hit and can be heard still speaking on the body camera video.

But seconds later, McManus said, Perez “advanced toward the window again while still holding the hammer, and all three officers opened fire.”

More than a dozen shots are heard on the body camera video. Perez was struck at least twice, according to McManus. Officers “attempted life-saving measures,” the arrest warrant said, but Perez died at the scene.

Although she was allegedly approaching the officers with a hammer when the officers opened fire, the arrest warrant said Perez “did not pose an imminent threat of serious bodily injury or death when she was shot because the defendants had a wall, a window blocked by a television, and a locked door between them.”

CNN has requested the unedited body camera videos in the case.

Bexar County jail records show all three officers were released on $100,000 bond. The police department will conduct an internal review and turn it over to prosecutors once it is completed. Court records indicate their preliminary hearing is set for July 25.

CNN left messages with Alejandro and Villalobos requesting comment Saturday. CNN was unable to find contact information for Flores.

CNN reached out to the San Antonio Police Officers’ Association for comment Saturday and to determine if the officers have attorneys, but has not received a reply.

The New York Times reported it obtained a statement from the association saying, “At this time, this is an active investigation, and can’t speak to the matter further until the investigation is complete and judicial process is underway.”

The statement added the association offered “our deepest condolences to Melissa Perez’s family.”

Sumber: www.cnn.com

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