Family: BCSO should not have shot armed man

Department says deputies followed procedure

Author: Matt Rivers, Video Journalist,
Published On: Oct 12 2012 10:27:48 PM CDT   Updated On: Oct 12 2012 11:52:45 PM CDT

The mother of the 24-year-old man shot Friday morning by Bexar County Sheriff's Office deputies said deputies should have handled the situation differently. 

Christina Marek said her son, Christopher Mendez, was going through a tough time, and was 'crying out for help.'

Bexar County Sheriff’s spokesman Louis Antu said Mendez spoke with dispatchers shortly before 5 a.m., saying he had a gun and would shoot any deputies who came near his home. He told a dispatcher that he had a gun big off enough to put holes in their bullet-proof vests.

“He wanted to shoot out cars or officers, even lights,” Antu said. “By all means, we're going to have to respond for public safety, and that’s just what we did."

Antu said deputies soon realized there were two women in the home, later identified as his mother and grandmother.

He said Mendez later allowed them to leave. Marek said the pair were never hostages.

“I think he realized that we were coming. He came out of the home with the weapon. What we're learning is that he pointed the weapon at the officers," Antu said.

SWAT officers responded by firing their weapons, hitting Mendez several times, Antu said. He was taken to San Antonio Military Medical Center where he underwent surgery.

Mendez's sister said officers should have used rubber bullets or tasers instead of real bullets.

Next door neighbor Tom Frugia heard the commotion and said he’s stunned by what happened.

"I didn't expect anything like this to happen to him or for him to do this," Frugia said. "It just kind of surprised all of us that this happened so I don't know what set him off."

Investigators were also at a loss to explain what led the suspect to make the threats.

Antu said they plan to interview Mendez once he recovers from surgery. They also plan to have him talk to mental health professionals.

Mendez has been booked by proxy on charges of Aggravated Assault Against a Public Servant and has a $75,000 dollar bond.

For a list of recent stories Matt Rivers has done, click here.

Katrina Webber also contributed to this report.