3 SAPD officers indicted in shooting death of Melissa Perez

Indictments come nearly six months after the death of Melissa Perez, 46; Bexar County DA to hold news conference

SAN ANTONIO – Three San Antonio Police Department officers were indicted by a grand jury Thursday, nearly six months after the shooting death of a 46-year-old woman inside her Southwest Side apartment.

Officer Eleazar Alejandro and Sgt. Alfred Flores face a charge of murder. Officer Nathaniel Villalobos faces a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon by a public servant in connection with the death of Melissa Perez, Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales said at a news conference Thursday.

All three men are scheduled to be arraigned in the 187th District Court in January.

Gonzales said, “It’s difficult to prosecute a member of law enforcement” but added, “No one is above the law.” He commended SAPD Chief William McManus for filing the charges, saying, “It was the right thing to do.”

McManus previously said the officers didn’t follow department training or policy and “used deadly force, which was not reasonable given all the circumstances as we now understand them.”

Perez was experiencing a mental health crisis and had a hammer in her hand when police shot her through a patio window and door in the 6200 block of Old Pearsall Road, McManus previously said.

“Mental health is a serious issue in the community,” Gonzales said. “When someone suffers, it requires us to step back, especially those in the community who have to make split-second decisions.”

Dan Packard, attorney for the Perez family, said it’s an emotional day for her surviving children. He added that the city needs to take responsibility for the lack of training their officers receive on mental health calls.

“Multiple officers who were on the scene had had prior dealings with Melissa Perez, and they knew she was schizophrenic and yet they treated her like she was a dangerous criminal,” Packard said. “Why didn’t somebody else speak up and say, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa. Let’s calm down. Let’s stand down.’ And so there needs to be training about how to intervene whenever some other officer has completely lost his head.”

The department released a portion of edited and blurred body-worn camera video from officers on the scene after the shooting. DA Gonzales said he’s hopeful for “better training for law enforcement” to handle similar situations.

“Ninety-nine percent of SAPD do an outstanding job, (but) when 1% fails to work within the law, they must be held accountable,” Gonzales said.

Villalobos’ attorney, Nico LaHood, issued the following statement:

“The reduction in the charging document handed down by the Grand Jury does not change our position that Nathaniel is innocent of this allegation. We believe a clear minded analysis of all the circumstances surrounding this incident will support our position.”

Alejandro’s attorney, Ben Sifuentes, sent KSAT the following statement:

“Mr. Del Prado and I are honored to represent Eleazar Alejando. Chapter Nine of the Texas Penal Code provided the police officers complete justification for their conduct.”

Flores’ attorney, David Christian,, issued the following statement:

Alfred Flores is a dedicated officer with the SAPD. He is a valued member of our community with a supportive family. The indictment issued yesterday by a Grand Jury in Bexar County against Officer Flores was unjust and not based upon the truth of these tragic events. It is unfortunate that politics and a rush to judgment mentality by local authorities is already in play to obstruct the real truth. Officer Flores will demand that the real events that transpired in this tragic loss of life be brought to light, so that real justice may prevail. Justice that will clear Officer Flores of any wrong doing and protect officers in the future who make the hard decisions to protect our community.

The San Antonio Police Officers’ Association sent the following statement in response to the indictment:

“Today, three San Antonio police officers involved in the death of Melissa Perez were formally indicted following a thorough 6-month investigation. We anticipate a comprehensive and fair judicial trial process.”

Andy Segovia, San Antonio city attorney, issued the following statement:

“Given the indictments we will let the criminal process run its course and not add substantive comment.”

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.

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with 15 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter and cohost of the podcast Texas Crime Stories.

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