Wife claims SAPD officers 'murdered' estranged husband

Medical Examiner ruled 37-y­ear-old Jesse Aguirre’s death ‘homicide’


SAN ANTONIO - The wife of a man who died while in police custody earlier this year believes San Antonio police officers caused his death and she's pointing to the official autopsy report to back up her claim.

Blanca Aguirre's estranged husband, 37-year-old Jesse Aguirre, died after struggling with officers following a car accident on the night of April 12.

She believes he would still be alive today had he not been taken into custody that night.

"Jesse Aguirre was murdered by the police officers of the San Antonio Police Department," Aguirre said in an interview at her home Monday afternoon.

According to police reports, Aguirre was arguing with a girlfriend in a stolen car when he crashed into a fence near Zarzamora and Highway 90.

Aguirre fled the scene and ran towards Highway 90, witnesses said "he looked strung out and out of control" as he ran into traffic.

Officers captured Aguirre and placed him handcuffs. The report stated he resisted arrest and it took 4 officers to subdue him. A short time later he became unresponsive and died from apparent cardiac arrest.

"They told me that he died from a heart attack," Aguirre said. "About 10 days ago I got the autopsy report that states that he was murdered."

The autopsy found several scratches and bruises to Aguirre's face and hands which were considered "minor."

The exam also found a mixture of cocaine and alcohol in Aguirre's body.

The medical examiner concluded he died as a result of "excited delirium associated with cocaine and ethanol intoxication" and ruled the death a homicide.

When reached by phone Medical Examiner Dr. Elizabeth Peacock clarified the manner of death.

She said ruling the manner of death a homicide doesn't mean Aguirre was murdered. She said any time a person is touched or restrained by an officer and they die, the death is ruled a homicide per industry standards.

Blanca Aguirre isn't satisfied with that explanation.

"He wouldn't have died if they didn't beat him," Aguirre said. "I want justice and I believe they should pay for their crime just like we pay for our crimes."

Aguirre has filed a Personal Injury claim with the City of San Antonio, blaming SAPD for her husband's death.

SAPD Sgt. Javier Salazar responded to questions about this case with the following statement:

"When an in-custody death occurs, two concurrent investigative and administrative investigations are launched by both the Homicide Unit and Internal Affairs. This case remains under investigation."

For a list of recent stories Tim Gerber has done, click here.


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