Survivor of 1979 Battle of Flowers parade shooting creates controversial Fiesta medal

SAN ANTONIO – One local artist who made a fiesta medal depicting his experience during the tragic 1979 Battle of the Flowers parade is catching both positive and negative feedback for his imaging.

The medal shows a boy screaming and running for his life while being shot in the arm. Israel Rico, the artist, said that boy is him.

“I was 9 years old at the time,” Rico said. “It was April 27, 1979, and we went to see my brother marching in the parade because he was in high school JROTC. I was with my mother and father and we parked and walked over. We were waiting and waiting and I remember my dad was getting impatient.”

Rico said that's when the tragedy began.

“I remember seeing the police officer going in the middle of the intersection and all of a sudden you hear ‘pow!’ like a fire cracker went off, and this police officer grabbed his leg and went down,” Rico said. “All of sudden, you just started hearing shots ring out and people started running all over the place. I would describe it as someone had stepped on a bomb. Chairs were all over the place, programs were flying.”

He said he and his parents did the same as everyone else trying to escape the madness.

“I am going northbound towards the curb and then I feel something just like pop go in my arm,” Rico said. “It felt like someone had thrown a rock and it hit me. Then I noticed blood was trickling down my arm. “I turn around and I see that I am bleeding, and I see that my mom falls down and my dad’s picking her up. I felt helpless.”

All three of them were shot before they were able to seek shelter at a nearby office.

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