Last June, Christopher Clingan was stabbed multiple times at The Regency at Lookout Canyon, a gated apartment complex located in northern Bexar County off Highway 281.

When EMS and sheriff's deputies arrived to help Clingan they couldn't get past the gate. They didn't have the gate code and didn't have a key to override the gate.

The KSAT Defenders learned those first responders could have reached Clingan in time if that gate was equipped with a device that's required by law. Instead it took rescuers 10 minutes to reach Clingan, who died waiting for help.

Clingan's death shed light on the 2010 law that had not been fully enforced. Enforcing that law is Bexar County Fire Marshal Craig Roberts' responsibility.

The law requires gated communities in unincorporated Bexar County to have gates that are equipped with Siren Operated Sensors (S.O.S). The devices allow first responders to open gates with the sound of their sirens.

"This allows sheriff's departments, police departments, ambulances and fire departments to be able to access those communities in an emergency," Roberts said. "We were the ones that proposed the S.O.S and it is now a state law. People think this is just something I'm doing but it's not, it's a state law."

When the law was enacted, each gated property was supposed to be inspected to make sure they had a functioning S.O.S device. 

The apartment complex where Clingan died not only didn't have the device installed, it hadn't even applied for gated community status because the owners weren't aware of the law.

Roberts said the property now has a working S.O.S device installed, but there are many more gated communities like it that are still not complying with the law.

"After the last story we sent out about 270 letters," Roberts said. "Most of the gated community apartments have complied. There's still lots of places out there that we're still working on, but we're pretty diligent about trying to make sure everyone is aware of this."

Roberts said his four inspectors have been trying to identify which gated communities still need to have the S.O.S installed, but it's been a challenge trying to find all those communities and find the appropriate person to notify.

Roberts said gated residential communities pose the biggest problem because their homeowner's association leadership frequently changes and so do their property managers.

"We don't know who the managers are, so it's hard to identify them," Roberts said. "The apartment complexes are easy, we can find those and we can deal with those managers but all these HOAs, one day it may be just a drive-through community and the next week they put up a gate and make it a gated community, so it's hard to keep up with a lot of those places."

Roberts is relying on deputies, firefighters and EMS crews to report communities that don't have S.O.S devices installed.

"If they come on one and it doesn't work, it doesn't open or something, then they let dispatch know and dispatch is supposed to give us the information so that we can go out and make those people aware," Roberts said.

As inspectors try to identify those gated communities not complying with the law, Roberts said it's really up to residents who live in those communities to take some action to get the ball rolling.

"Everybody that lives in a gated community needs to make sure their HOA or whoever is managing that HOA contacts us and finds out if they have to have and S.O.S. or not," Roberts said.

If you live in a gated community in unincorporated Bexar County and it is not equipped with an S.O.S device the Defenders want to hear from you.  Just send an email to

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