'He was out to kill somebody': Man recalls deputy-involved shooting outside his RV
SAN ANTONIO – Leroy Avalos huddled up with 8-month-old daughter at the back of their RV with just a few inches of metal to protect them from the furious gun fight taking place outside.
"There in that moment, it seemed like it was never going to stop," Avalos said of the gunfire.
"I felt like they were inside my RV."
Outside, a Bexar County Sheriff's Office Deputy was trading shots with a man the sheriff's office identified as Joseph Woolard, 35. Woolard, whom Sheriff Javier Salazar called a "career criminal," had run from a traffic stop a few minutes earlier at Military near Loop 1604 before he brought out a shotgun from under his jacket and fired at the deputy, Salazar said.
In the moments before the firefight, Avalos had seen the deputy, with his gun drawn, coming up his row at the back of the Blazing Star RV Resort and "kind of yelling or something."
The deputy appeared to be running along the edge of the RVs in the row, checking between them, he said. Around that time he heard a loud thump at the back of his RV, and, worrying someone was trying to get in, rushed toward the back.
As he did, Avalos said, he heard the first gunshot, however, he couldn't say for sure who fired it. Grabbing his daughter, Arabella, he continued running to the back.
As he passed through the kitchen area, Avalos caught a glimpse of Woolard through his window.
"He was kind of like ducking down," he remembered.
Avalos guessed he heard in the neighborhood of 12 or 13 shots as the two men fired away at each other just a few yards apart.
The rounds from the deputy's service weapon marked some metal boxes outside Avalos's RV, while two holes are still visible in the side of a pickup across the row, showing where shotgun slugs punched through the metal.
At least one of the slugs appeared to have penetrated through the other side of the truck bed and hit another RV.
"If it would have hit that officer, man, it would have torn him up," Avalos said as he surveyed the torn metal of the truck bed.
"That guy, you know, he was out to kill somebody."
Fortunately, the deputy was not hit. Woolard, though, was critically injured and was airlifted to University Hospital. Cell phone video Avalos took following the shooting shows Woolard handcuffed and conscious outside of the RV as deputies and EMS personnel tend to him.
Avalos said there are normally a lot of people out and about in the RV park, and he thinks about who else - possibly his neighbors or even his daughter - could have been hurt.
"I think this guy should just, you know, get put up," Avalos said. "I don't think he deserves to be out in the free world like that."
As of Saturday afternoon, Woolard was still in the hospital, but he has already been booked on multiple charges, including the attempted capital murder of a police officer.
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