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Balcones Heights police chief placed on paid leave

City: Complaint filed against Chief Henry Dominguez

The chief of the Balcones Heights Police Department has been placed on paid leave while the city investigates a complaint filed against him.

Chief Henry Dominguez's absence comes on the heels of the murder of one his officers earlier this month.

The city of Balcones Heights confirmed Thursday afternoon that Dominguez had been on paid administrative leave from the department since Tuesday.

Lorenzo Nastasi, a spokesperson for the city, would only confirm a complaint was filed against Dominguez and that he'd been placed on leave while that complaint is investigated.

Multiple sources close to the Balcones Heights Police Department told KSAT 12 News Dominguez also took personal time off last week.

The sources also said the department has been in turmoil since the murder of Officer Julian Pesina.

Pesina was shot and killed by two masked men as he left a tattoo shop he co-owned on May 4.

The investigation into Pesina's murder has focused on his suspected ties to the Texas Mexican Mafia, a violent prison gang. His murder is believed to be a hit carried out by gang members.

Experts have also identified some of the tattoos on Pesina's body as gang symbols associated with the Mexican Mafia.

Sources close to the department said while Pesina had only a few tattoos when he joined the department in 2006, he began adding more tattoos to his body in recent years.

The sources said some of the officers from the department were concerned about Pesina's tattoos; they thought they were questionable and believed some were gang symbols. The sources said some BHPD officers raised their concerns to Dominguez but said ultimately he didn't take any action.

The sources also said Pesina had bragged about having family ties to the Mexican Mafia and that it was no secret inside the department.

On his application for employment with BHPD Pesina admitted to past criminal activity, including theft and assault, and stated he had family members who had been involved in criminal activity.

Dominguez was hired by the city of Balcones Heights in October 2009. Prior to joining BHPD he served as the chief of the Poteet Police Department for three years. Before that he had worked for the Atascosa County Sheriff's Department for several years.

When asked if the complaint leveled against Dominguez had anything to do with Pesina's murder Nastasi said he didn't know because he hadn't seen the complaint.

Dominguez has refused to answer questions about Pesina's time with the department and the allegations officers had raised concerns about his tattoos.

According to Nastasi, Dominguez will remain on paid leave while the complaint is investigated.

Meanwhile, a joint investigation by the FBI and the San Antonio Police Department into Pesina's death is ongoing. So far no arrests have been made.


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