Councilman says recent shooting shows need for gunshot detection equipment

Man fatally shot Thursday on East Side

SAN ANTONIO – Thursday night's fatal shooting at an East Side convenience took place in the heart of where District 2 Councilman Alan Warrick had hoped to fast track the installation of gunshot recognition devices.

Warrick hopes the devices will be installed in a 2-square-mile radius, encompassing the scene of Thursday's shooting at the corner of Nolan Street and New Braunfels Avenue.

"That was actually the focal point from where I would expand my radius from. So the radius would start about a block away," Warrick said Friday night, less than 24 hours after the shooting that left a 30-year-old man dead.

The devices, made by the company ShotSpotter, use aural triangulation to recognize gunshots and pinpoint their locations.

"The city of San Antonio probably would have been alerted 30 seconds to a minute when the first shot was fired," said Warrick. "The person crawled to their car, crawled out to the street and died in the middle of the street. By the time the person was in the street, police would have been on the scene."

Warrick was already working on a pilot program for high-crime areas in his district and District 1 at a cost of $400,000 in the 2016 city budget. He tried unsuccessfully last month to move up the installation of the devices in his district, which would have made San Antonio the first city in Texas with that technology.

"Imagine living in a community where eight times out of 10 you hear a gunshot but you don't see police. You don't see the presence. You wouldn't feel safe in your community and you wouldn't want to live there anymore," he said, citing statistics provided by ShotSpotter based on the 90-plus cities that currently use the technology.

Warrick expects the devices to be installed at the beginning of fiscal year 2016, which means they could be operational by the end of this year. He's hoping cutting down crime will mean more positive growth for his district.

"Once criminals see that kind of reaction from police, they understand that they can't behave that way with impunity," he said. "Once it's safer in these communities, we can move businesses in, move the activity in."