San Antonio police respond to recent string of gang-related violence

Increased patrols, informant questioning due from police

Author: Matt Rivers, Video Journalist, mrivers@ksat.com
Published On: Aug 15 2012 05:00:20 PM CDT   Updated On: Aug 15 2012 05:44:22 PM CDT
SAN ANTONIO -

San Antonio police say they are stepping up patrols and investigative efforts in the wake of a recent string of suspected gang-related violence that has plagued the Alamo City.

It's been a violent couple of days in San Antonio, with two murders and a shooting since Monday night. 

Police said the crimes do not appear to be related, but are looking into taking targeted action to combat violence in the areas where the violent actions occurred.

Late Monday, a man was murdered on El Charro during what police called a drug deal gone wrong. The victim, Anthony Smertneck, told witnesses he was expecting a confrontation with the suspect, Baron Hunt, for some time.

Hunt (pictured) was charged with murder on Wednesday.

Also on Monday, in what police said appeared to be another drug-related crime, James Whitley was shot and killed.

Police charged David Estrada with his murder. He remains at large. They also charged a 15-year-old with murder in the case.

During situations like this, where a spike in violent crime puts neighborhoods on edge, police tend to respond with targeted force, according to experts.

"They add more officers, more than likely from the gang unit, and search targeted areas for signs of gang activity," said Eddie Gonzales, KSAT's crime analyst and a 30-year veteran of SAPD.

Those efforts entail increased traffic stops and working informants, in what Gonzales called the saturation of targeted areas.

A similar program went into effect on the east side in early 2012, after a series of gang-related shootings in the span of a few weeks. The initiative resulted in dozens of arrests.

Police would not confirm if a similar program will be implemented in the wake of recent violence.

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