Monday, October 2, 2023

SAPD Chief, District Attorney Answer Questions From Concerned Residents After Controversy Over Series Of Shootings

San Antonio’s two top crime fighters shook hands in public Monday night at a West Side Catholic church, following a highly publicized dispute over the causes of a series of shootings. which left five officers injured and three suspects dead.

Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales told a crowd of more than 150 people in St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church that the two men spoke privately on Monday after some reports estimated that the separation between them lasted a month.

“For this to work we just have to work together, so let’s work together,” said Gonzales, who shook hands with McManus at the forum. The two briefly shook hands, which was received with applause.

Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales speaks at a public safety meeting on September 11, 2023, as San Antonio City Councilwoman District 4 Adriana Rocha Garcia looks on.

Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales speaks at a public safety meeting on September 11, 2023, along with San Antonio City District 4 Councilwoman Adrianna Rocha-Garcia.

While the two men may be talking to each other now, differences remain over how to keep armed and dangerous people, such as repeat criminals, off the streets.

McManus has questioned in recent weeks some of the district attorney’s efforts to fight crime in the courts, while the district attorney has questioned some of the chief’s efforts to deal with crime on the streets.

In a panel with reporters shortly after the handshake, McManus confirmed the two had spoken. But he reminded the media that a high-level meeting on how to reduce shootings, in which he and the district attorney will participate and will be mediated by San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and the Bexar County judge, has been lost. , Peter Sakai. The date of the meeting has not yet been set.

“I will not talk about what happened before this,” said the chief. “I made my concerns, very clear to everyone.”

District 4 San Antonio City Councilwoman Adriana Rocha García called the town hall meeting because some of the most publicized shootings have occurred in her district. He said his constituents expressed concern about public safety after the shooting. He believes they are part of a bad trend.

“There’s a lot of anger,” he said. “There is a division between uniform and non-uniform. This is due not only to local anger, but also to anger at the state level, at the federal level. So it is important to remember that we are all one community.”

San Antonio Police Chief William Mcmanus Spoke At The Town Hall Public Safety Meeting Last Sept.  11, 2023
San Antonio Police Chief William McManus speaks at a public safety meeting at City Hall on September 11, 2023.

Both men lamented the easy availability of guns in Texas. Both men also said they have seen a trend of more guns involved in crimes being taken from unlocked, unattended or stolen vehicles.

McManus said crime overall is down. He said most victims of violent crime engage in “risky behavior” that makes them more likely targets for criminals. However, theft of property, mostly vehicles, remains a major problem.

Some in the audience criticized or even mocked the district attorney for the lack of progress in some murder cases involving loved ones. Gonzales said that in the cases they filed, there is not enough evidence to bring them to court.

A Catholic Church On The Far West Side Was Packed For A Town Hall Meeting Over The Shootings On Sept.  11, 2023
The Far West Side Catholic Church is packed for a town hall meeting about public safety following a series of shootings on September 11, 2023.

He urged those critical of his office to approach him. He said he often talks to the families of crime victims.

The DA and the chief are scheduled to arrive together on Thursday at 6 pm at the Dolores Griffin Senior Center. Similar public safety town hall held by District 7 Councilwoman Marina Alderete Gavito.

This note was translated by Texas Public Radio with support from Gabriela Olivares and Yvette Benavides for NPR and The Texas Newsroom.

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