SAN ANTONIO – A Bexar County deputy who fatally shot Damian Lamar Daniels on Aug. 25 was involved in a similar fatal shooting a decade ago, according to the sheriff’s office.
The record of Deputy John Rodriguez, 52, has come into question since Daniels was killed outside his home on Liberty Field as he struggled with three deputies who were called by the American Red Cross to check on him. Daniels, a combat veteran, had been struggling over the recent deaths of loved ones and was paranoid, family said.
On Sept. 17, 2010, Rodriguez fatally shot Jack Burney Butler, who had struggled with bipolar disorder, according to the San Antonio Express-News. Butler was intoxicated and depressed over losing his job when deputies were called to the home.
The sheriff’s office previously said Butler was shot after walking toward Rodriguez with a knife, though his family members, who told the newspaper they witnessed the shooting, disputed that.
“The officer told him to stop, and my brother did not,” Shannon Butler told the Express-News. “He continued to walk down the driveway, and he’s stumbling, and he has his hands up over his head. He was maybe 16 feet, 18 feet away from the officer, and he shot him. He shot him.”
Rodriguez was cleared of wrongdoing by a grand jury in Jack Butler’s death.
Though the 2010 shooting is now part of the sheriff’s office investigation into Daniels’ death, Sheriff Javier Salazar told the Express-News that Rodriguez’s record does not reveal a pattern of concerning behavior.
Daniels’ death sparked protests outside the Bexar County Jail. His family, as well as Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, have said that deputies should not have been the ones called to handle this call.
The family has retained civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, who has disputed Salazar’s characterization of what led to Daniels’ death. Merrit and Daniels’ family met with District Attorney Joe Gonzales on Tuesday in hopes of getting justice for him.
The day after the shooting, Salazar said he was confident deputies did everything in their power to avoid using deadly force before one opened fire on Daniels following a two-minute struggle. The shooting remains under investigation.