The officer-involved shootings that San Antonio has seen recently are considered a troubling sign of the times by KSAT 12’s crime analyst Eddie Gonzales.
“I think there’s a proliferation of guns on the street. I think people are less worried about consequences,” Gonzales, who has 32 years law enforcement experience, said.
In the past week, a police officer at the University of the Incarnate Word shot to death a UIW honor student who allegedly grabbed the officer’s baton during a struggle, an SAPD officer was gravely injured allegedly by two felons on the run, and a Bexar County deputy wounded another suspect in another pursuit.
“It’s part of the violent culture we have now that officers are having to deal with,” Gonzales said.
He said in response, officers must rely on their training, intuition and ability to make quick decisions before using deadly force.
“Most people will tell you what their intentions are if you just pay attention to their body language,” Gonzales said.
He said SAPD trains its officers to first use their “command presence” to try to diffuse situations.
However, Gonzales said they have to remember, “Some of the smallest, most insignificant type calls or situations, those are the ones that can completely blow up in your face.”
He said officers now have other types of weapons for volatile situations such as stun guns and pepper spray.
“But there’s nothing that says you can’t go straight to a firearm if you feel your life is truly in danger,” Gonzales said.
He said they have seconds to make a life and death decision, but many officers also look beyond that instant.
Gonzales “You think about the consequences. I think most officers do. That’s your career. That’s your life. That’s everything if you mess up.”