SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales on Tuesday met with the family of Marquis Jones, a Black man who was shot and killed outside a restaurant in 2014 by off-duty San Antonio Police Officer Robert Encina in the parking lot of a Chacho’s restaurant on the Northeast Side. Encina was working security at the restaurant.
“This afternoon, I met with the family of Marquise Jones and some of their representatives. The family’s civil attorney recently provided additional information from the February 2014 officer-involved shooting to our office. As previously stated, I have repeatedly re-examined this case and other officer-involved shootings since I took office in January 2019,” Gonzales said in a statement. “I explained to the family that rather than have the same team look at this additional information, I have assigned two veteran prosecutors to be a fresh set of eyes on the case and do a full case review. I know the Jones family has waited a long time to get answers from the District Attorney’s Office. I have promised the family that we will communicate with them as we work on the new review of this case. Once that examination is complete, we will meet with them to discuss where we go from there.”
During a news conference following the meeting, Christopher Herring, a retired Air Force officer who represented the family, said that Gonzales apologized for “years and years of neglect” and extended his condolences to the family.
Herring said the meeting was the first time a district attorney had met with the family.
“We’ve asked the DA to investigate the lies,” Herring said. “This was not a justified shooting."
Herring said that Jones was not a threat to Encina and that the officer shot at him several times from 100 feet away while he was “multitasking.”
Herring said that Gonzales promised the family transparency, including communicating with them every 30 days until he decides whether to reopen the case.
“We walked out of the DA’s Office with some hope," an aunt of Marquis said at the news conference. “I know that nothing is guaranteed. I told them as long as we go through every avenue possible ... the end result is what it is.”
She also blamed the media for news reports on what she called “the narrative” that Black victims and their families get when they are involved in a police-involved shooting.
“You all need to stop. It’s still somebody’s loved one," she said.
She said that one way that things are going to change is when people go to the voting booth when lawmakers don’t deliver on promises they make regarding social injustice and police brutality.
“We are not going to tolerate this stuff anymore," she said.
A Bexar County grand jury cleared Encina of criminal wrongdoing.
Jones' family sued Encina and the city for damages in federal court, claiming Encina used excessive and unreasonable force and violated Jones' constitutional rights. They also claimed the city investigation was a cover-up and that SAPD’s lack of supervision and discipline led to the incident.
However, a jury later ruled against Jones' family, claiming Encina didn’t use excessive and unnecessary deadly force.