SAPD officer booted from academy for role in road rage shootout that left man paralyzed

Officer Dezi Rios transferred, suspended for altercation before gun battle

SAN ANTONIO – An off-duty San Antonio police officer involved in a road rage shootout that left a man paralyzed from the waist down was suspended and transferred for his role in the gun battle that unfolded in the parking lot of a strip club in May, according to records obtained by the KSAT 12 Defenders.

Dezi Rios was issued a 15-day suspension without pay on Nov. 15 and was transferred out of his role as a physical training instructor at the Police Academy on Nov. 9.

Rios is now assigned to the Prue Substation, according to city human resources records.

Suspension paperwork sheds light for the first time on what was said before Rios and 25-year-old Demontae Lashaun Walker exchanged gunfire on May 29 in the parking lot of the All Stars Gentlemen's Club in the 9400 block of Interstate 10 West.

Police said Walker and Rios pulled into the parking lot around 9:30 p.m. after Walker alleged Rios cut him off on the highway. According to suspension paperwork, Walker told Rios, "Hey mother f-----r, you know you almost killed me back there," to which Rios responded, "Obviously I f-----g didn't because you're still here. You're a f-----g dumba-- for pulling over. Get the f--- out of here."

At some point, police said Walker opened fire on Rios, hitting him six times in the torso. 

Police Chief William McManus said Rios ran to his vehicle to get a firearm and returned fire, hitting Walker three times. A female passenger in Walker’s vehicle was grazed in the head by a bullet.

WARNING: The video contains material that is inappropriate for younger audiences. Viewer discretion is advised.

Walker confirmed to KSAT Monday that he was paralyzed in the gun battle with Rios and referred all other questions to his attorney.

Rios was cited for his profanity-laced exchange with Walker and because he had consumed alcohol to a point where he was "rendered unfit to report for duty," according to the suspension order. Off-duty officers are prohibited from drinking to an extent that renders them unfit to report for duty.

Suspension documents state Rios' actions "did not conform to the ordinary and reasonable rules of good conduct and behavior and/or brought reproach and discredit on himself and the department."

McManus declined to speak with KSAT about Rios' suspension because the investigation is ongoing. Officials with the police department did not say whether Rios was cleared of criminal wrongdoing in connection with the shootout.

Rios was originally given a contemplated 25-day suspension for the incident.

He is scheduled to complete his suspension next week.

The Bexar County District Attorney's Office said Walker is awaiting indictment in the 399th District Court.

Cellphone video shared with KSAT 12 shows the chaotic scene following the shootout. In the video, a man covered in blood is seen walking up to the entrance of the strip club seeking assistance. The man in the video is then seen crouching down and lying on the ground.

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About the Authors

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined KSAT Investigates in September 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat and on the Six O'Clock News. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.

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