SAN ANTONIO – The identities are still unknown of a homeless couple who were attacked outside a building that will soon house a new West Side ministry, Renewed Families Child Custody Inc. But Martin Torres, its case manager, knew who they were.
“Good people, wonderful people,” Torres said. “I prayed with them. I’ve spoken to them.”
Torres said even after acquiring the former Catholic Charities building at the corner of N. Rosillo and W. Salinas, he allowed the man and woman to remain on the property.
“We did it out of the goodness of our heart,” Torres said. “Never, never once thinking something this tragic would happen.”
San Antonio police arrived on the scene Sunday morning after Julian Morales, a nearby resident who also knew the couple, called 911.
He said he found the woman covered in blood lying on the front sidewalk, unable to speak.
“She just got beat up, maybe here, maybe in the alley, maybe made it over here,” Morales said.
But Morales said he didn’t realize her boyfriend’s body was hidden by some tall weeds several feet away. His manner of death is pending the results of an autopsy.
Morales said they’d also been attacked about a year ago by someone with a metal pipe.
Yet Torres described the woman as very intelligent and the man was a hard worker.
Torres said they helped him in cleaning up the property and painting the building.
He said every day they would offer to do whatever was needed.
“That’s what I liked about them,” Torres said.
But Torres also said as a recovering addict for the past eight years, he related to their struggle with drugs and alcohol.
Torres said he was “living in the streets battling to stay alive.”
“It’s certainly a very sad event for our community and shouldn’t have occurred,” South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless Executive Director Bill Hubbard said.
Hubbard said providing the homeless a safe place to sleep outdoors is why the Haven for Hope also has a large covered courtyard.
A spokeswoman for Haven for Hope said even if they are under the influence, people are welcomed to stay there overnight as long as they have no weapons or drugs, and are not a danger to themselves or others.
Despite Haven’s outreach efforts, Hubbard said they often find “folks who do not want to do that.”
He said it’s a matter of building trust and credibility among the homeless.
Hubbard said even so, “We’re not going to give up.”