Deputies in San Antonio, Texas, fatally shot a man who had his arms raised in the air on Friday following a domestic disturbance.
Unedited video of the shooting recorded on a cell phone by a bystander was posted online Monday by KSAT-TV, the San Antonio ABC affiliate.
Gilbert Flores, 41, was pronounced dead at the scene. The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office deputies who shot him have been identified as Greg Vasquez and Robert Sanchez. The shooting remains under investigation by police and the district attorney’s office.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Flores Is Accused of Cutting a Woman With a Knife During a Domestic Dispute Before the Shooting
The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office said deputies were called to Walnut Pass in the Northwest part of San Antonio on Friday at about 11:30 a.m. for a reported domestic disturbance. A woman at a home there had been cut on the head by a knife, and a man, Gilbert Flores, was found outside the home armed with the knife, the sheriff’s office told the San Antonio Express News.
The woman had been holding a baby that deputies thought might have been harmed.
Sheriff Susan Pamerleau said at a press conference on Wednesday, five days after the shooting, that she is not sure if a knife was recovered from the scene.
2. Police Say Deputies Tried to Take Him Into Custody for About 20 Minutes
The video was shot by a local college student, Michael Thomas, who sold the exclusive rights to the video to KSAT for $100.
Flores, who is shirtless in the video, had a knife when deputies arrived at the scene, police said. It’s not clear if he was still armed with the knife at the time of the shooting. The deputies tried to take Flores into custody for about 20 minutes, using shields and a Taser, Sheriff Susan Pamerleau told reporters.
The video shows Flores running from the two deputies, who slowly approach him, one holding a shield. After a few moments, Flores raises his arms into the air. The two officers then fire at him and he falls to the ground. Two shots can be heard. The sheriff’s office has not yet said how many times Flores was struck.
A helicopter was initially called to the scene to take Flores to the hospital, but he was pronounced dead before it arrived.
Flores’ criminal record includes a 2003 aggravated robbery charge and a 1999 criminal trespass charge, according to KSAT.
3. The 2 Deputies Involved in the Shooting Have Been Placed on Paid Leave
The sheriff’s office said deputies Greg Vasquez and Robert Sanchez have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
Both deputies have about 10 years of experience with the department.
“Certainly, what’s in the video is a cause for concern,” Sheriff Susan Pamerleau told reporters at a press conference. “But it’s important to let the investigation go through its course so that we can assure a thorough and complete review of all that occurred — of the evidence and the actions of the officers.”
The investigation is being conducted by the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office.
“The sheriff’s office is investigating this, and as a large agency we have quite a number of investigators,” Pamerleau told KENS 5. “It’s important in every investigation regardless of whether not it involves one of our officers or citizen of Bexar County (that) we do a thorough and complete investigation to get all the facts.”
District Attorney Nico LaHood told KSAT, “Definitely, the video is troubling. That is a portion of the investigation that I am not at liberty to speak about. There’s a lot of information before, including 911 calls and information from different witnesses inside the house. This is a very unique situation where we actually have the shooting on video. That gives us a whole different perspective that we’ve never had before.”
4. The Sheriff’s Office Criticized KSAT for Posting the Video
The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office criticized KSAT for posting the full video online. In a Facebook post, the sheriff’s office said:
Today, members of our local media chose to broadcast online unedited video of a man’s death. KSAT 12 paid a neighbor who filmed the tragedy $100 for the exclusive rights to the video. As a result, people from outside our community have bombarded us with inappropriate comments, and today, physical threats toward our deputies. These deputies have not been charged with a crime and a family lost their loved one. This is unethical and sad. Call KSAT and let them know what you think – (210) 351-1277. If you agree, let the local media know this sort of sensational behavior doesn’t fly in Bexar County.
KSAT initially posted an edited version of the video on Friday, stopping the recording a frame before the shooting, but continuing the audio over a still shot of the scene. On Monday, KSAT posted the full video. The news station said in its story accompanying the video:
The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s office have addressed the incident, and commented on the video, which calls into question whether the shooting was justified. Now that there is an ongoing investigation by both agencies, and following additional discussions within our newsroom, KSAT 12 News has decided to make the entire video available online.
Providing the video on KSAT.com allows for viewers to make their own decision on whether to click on a link to see the video. Other than editing for language, the video is the entirety of what we received from Michael Thomas.
5. Another Video, Taken Closer to the Shooting, Has Not Been Made Public
District Attorney Nico LaHood told KSAT that there is a second video that was recorded closer to the scene of the shooting. That video has not been released to the public.
The second video shows that both of Flores’ hands were raised before the shooting.
The sheriff’s office said the video is being “processed” by the Texas Department of Public Safety before it is released to the public. The sheriff said the video is of “great concern.”
The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office said on Facebook, “In regards to the deputy involved shooting, we’re asking for calm and patience. We are diligently working to complete the investigation, so we can move to the next step. We want to get this right for the Flores family, our deputies and their families, and our community. Please be patient.”