Residents in shock after police say man shot at church

'It's kind of scary because we have grandkids'

SAN ANTONIO – Ignacio Gonzalez said he was shocked to see what unfolded across the street from his home just before noon on Feb. 27.

"We were in bed, we were watching TV, went to the kitchen to go get something to drink. And I heard the wife say, 'Hey, did you drop something?' By that time, I already had heard 'Pop, pop, pop, pop.'"

Police said the pops were shots fired from an AR-15 by 33-year-old Javier Sanchez, who had pulled up to the Emanuel United Methodist Church in the 3200 block of West Poplar Street and opened fire toward the place of worship.

"I saw all the cops all in my block, and I said, 'What's going on?'" said Sandra Gonzalez, Ignacio Gonzalez's wife.

Church pastor Jose Mercado said fortunately, no one was in the church during the shooting and the building wasn't badly affected. But police said The Little Free Library that sits right outside the church got hit at least seven times. On Wednesday, KSAT 12 News discovered what appeared to be a bullet fragment left behind in the library.

"It's kind of scary because we have grandkids, and our grandkids are (usually) out there in the yard. Who knows? One of our kids probably would've gotten shot, too," said Sandra Gonzalez.

Mercado said he isn't worried about the incident because he doesn't believe his congregation was specifically targeted. 

Police said an ankle monitor worn by Sanchez and a police helicopter helped locate the suspect about 7 miles away from the scene.

Sanchez also had a Smith and Wesson M&P15 in his vehicle, police said.

Sanchez is charged with deadly conduct with a firearm, a third-degree felony.

He's being held in the Bexar County jail without bond.

About the Authors:

Bill Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.