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Balcones Heights publicly addresses officer's slaying

Officer Julian Pesina fatally shot May 4

For the first time since one of its own was murdered, the city of Balcones Heights addressed the death of Officer Julian Pesina during a special city council meeting Tuesday evening.

The meeting was scheduled to discuss the development of lofts, but the session began with Mayor Suzanne De Leon reading a statement regarding Pesina's death.

"The fact of the matter is that an officer was brutally murdered," De Leon read, in part. "We owe it to those officers to get to the bottom of this. And that's what we're going to do. Trust in the police department is job number one."

Pesina was shot to death by two masked men on May 4 outside the business he co-owned, Notorious Ink Tattoo and Piercing Shop, on the 2800 block of Hillcrest. He was off duty at the time of the killing.

Numerous pictures of Pesina were hung in the meeting room on the second floor of the city's Justice Center.

But it's photos of Pesina on his public Facebook page that are raising concerns. In some of those pictures, images of Pesina's tattoos can be seen – one of which depicts "M13."

Gabe Morales, a prison and street gang investigator for more than 30 years, says M13 is a symbol of the Mexican Mafia.

"He had several that any police officer would know represents the Mexican Mafia,  especially in the San Antonio area," Morales said in an interview aired on KSAT 12 Monday.

On Tuesday, Balcones Heights spokesman, Lorenzo Nastasi, had this to say in response.

"I think it would be a mistake to speculate on that," he said.

What Nastasi would comment on is the city's cooperation with the murder investigation, which San Antonio police are conducting.

"We want to know what happened to get business back to usual here for the citizens and visitors of Balcones Heights, as well as the rest of our police force and our firefighters that were on the scene," Nastasi said. "This has impacted them greatly. And as long as these questions remain, there's a lot of uncertainty."

SAPD has released little information about the shooting.

The only suspect information that has been released details two men in ski masks who were last seen in a black four-door Lincoln.

For a list of recent stories Myra Arthur has done, click here.

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