Guadalupe County District Attorney Heather McMinn has cleared two sheriff’s deputies in the shooting death of Jonas Alonzo, 16.
Alonzo was shot and killed outside a home in the 2700 block of FM 1044 in New Braunfels June 28 after a relative called 911, reporting that he had a knife (seen below).
Two deputies who responded to that call reported that Alonzo advanced on them with the knife and ignored their commands to drop the weapon.
After his death, the teen’s caretakers publicly denied the deputies’ accounts of what happened, saying Alonzo was unarmed at the time.
McMinn said after reviewing video taken by the dashboard cameras in both patrol cars, she decided the shooting was justified.
“This is clearly a tragic event. This young man was truly troubled,” she said, referring to Alonzo, whom she said was suicidal.
"He had told people prior to the 911 call that he wanted to commit suicide that day. He had told other people that he was going to die that day," McMinn said.
In an effort to explain her decision, McMinn showed members of the media the knife that deputies said Alonzo used to threaten them, as well as two 11-minute-long video clips from the patrol cars.
Video reportedly taken from the second patrol car (seen below) shows a shadowy figure outside the home, standing up as the first car reaches the driveway and walking toward the vehicle.
The actual confrontation and shooting happened out of camera view.
But both video snippets did record the audio portion, which includes the deputies yelling for someone to drop a knife.
“Drop it! Drop it!” they both can be heard saying repeatedly.
After every command from the deputies, a third voice can be heard saying, “Shoot me, (expletive)!”
Several shots then ring out, silencing that third person.
McMinn said both deputies fired a total of seven shots, hitting Alonzo five times in his ankle, head and chest.
She said she studied the video, frame by frame, and is convinced Alonzo approached the deputies, then refused to drop his knife.
The deputies, then, reacted according to their training, by answering deadly force with deadly force, McMinn said.
"Any allegations or suggestions that they should've tried to shoot the knife out of his hands or done something along those lines are absolutely ridiculous,” she said.
To remove any appearance of unfairness, McMinn said she also presented the case for review by a grand jury.
The panel, she said, reached the same conclusion that the deputies did nothing wrong.
Both deputies have been cleared to return to work, and could be back on the job this week, McMinn said.