SAN ANTONIO – A Bexar County grand jury voted Wednesday not to indict San Antonio police Officer Robert Encina in the 2014 shooting death of Marquise Jones, 23, in the drive-through of a Chacho's restaurant.
Bexar County District Attorney Nico LaHood said Wednesday that his office was thorough in its investigation into the shooting. LaHood has met with members of Jones' family since he took office in January and said that he understands how they must feel in light of the decision.
"It pains my heart, because I understand loss and I know that regardless of the circumstances or what a grand jury thought, they still have loss nonetheless," LaHood said.
Jones was shot and killed Feb. 28, 2014, at the Chacho's on Perrin Beitel Road by Encina, who was working an off-duty security job.
A police reported said that a vehicle Jones was riding in was involved in a minor accident in the drive-through. It said that Jones and the driver did not comply with Encina's instructions. The report said that Jones reached for a gun in his waistband when Encina was trying to detain the driver. Encina opened fire, hitting Jones in the back and killing him.
The attorney for the Jones' family members has disputed the claims that Jones was armed, citing Chacho's employees' statements.
"Someone can easily shoot different ways just because there's an entry wound in a certain part of the body. We have to look at whether there was another weapon, what was going on at the time and if there was a reasonable belief of apparent danger and was it imminent," LaHood said.
Getting to the grand jury decision was a process made longer after LaHood took office in January.
"I didn't know what had been done before. So we looked at everything this office had prior to me taking over, and we had communication with the family's attorney and with the family. I met with the family before and they gave us evidence that they were suggesting and hoping we considered presenting to the grand jury that we thought was relevant as well," LaHood said.
LaHood said his office presented every piece of information to the grand jury.
"We just want to make sure we get it right. That's the key. Our oath is to seek justice, not to seek a conviction, not to cave to national conversations or to worry about politics. None of that matters here," LaHood said.
Encina was placed on administrative leave during the investigation. The Police Department did not say whether he would return to active duty after Wednesday's decision.