A county law designed to allow emergency personnel swift access to gated communities was both ignored and not enforced at a gated community in North Bexar County—and those flaws may have contributed to a young man’s death.
Christopher Clingan, 22, was stabbed to death in the early morning hours of June 16th. Before he succumbed to unconsciousness, he managed to call 9-1-1.
“I’ve been stabbed like eight times,” Clingan can be heard saying on the recording. “Please, someone help me, I don’t want to die.”
Dispatchers sent Bexar County Sheriff’s deputies and an ambulance to the Regency at Lookout Canyon, a gated community just off of 281 North in unincorporated Bexar County where the stabbing happened.
But when they arrived, the gate was locked and they had no access code.
911 dispatchers can be heard frantically asking a friend of Clingan what they gate code was, but since he was from out of town, he couldn’t help them.
Clingan died a short time later.
But one county law might have helped save Clingan’s life.
In 2010, commissioners adopted a law that required all gated communities to install a siren-operated-sensor. The device automatically opens a gate when it senses an emergency siren, be it from police, fire or EMS.
But the Regency at Lookout Canyon had no such system installed. In fact, county officials said it had not even applied to be a gated community.
By the time deputies were able to find a way into the gate and secure the crime scene allowing medical personnel to enter, almost 10 minutes had gone by.
The county fire marshal’s office was tasked in 2010 with enforcing this law by inspecting new properties being built and inspecting those already constructed.
But apparently, that was only done in part.
Officials said it is difficult to enforce the law when property management companies are not upfront about gates on their property.
A county-wide review is now underway to make sure all communities have an S.O.S. device installed properly.
Still, county officials admitted that could take some time.
People who live in a gated community should ask the property manager if the emergency personnel can access the gate.
Within San Antonio city limits, gated communities are required to have an S.O.S. device or provide access codes to all emergency personnel.