Nearly two weeks after fatal encounter, BCSO identifies deputy who shot and killed Nicholas Norris

Deputy Joseph Trevino, 33, has worked for BCSO since 2012

Bexar County sheriff's deputy Joseph Trevino
Bexar County sheriff's deputy Joseph Trevino (KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – A Bexar County Sheriff’s deputy who shot and killed a man suffering from a mental health episode on the far West Side late last month was identified by agency officials Tuesday as 33-year-old Deputy Joseph Trevino.

Trevino shot and killed Nicholas Norris, 38, following a struggle along Potranco Road, Sheriff Javier Salazar previously said.

Prior to the fatal encounter, deputies were called by a convenience store clerk about Norris, who was allegedly scaring customers, Salazar previously said.

Deputies attempted to pursue Norris, who sped off in an SUV, Salazar said, before calling off the pursuit. Later that day, deputies encountered Norris again as he was driving erratically on Potranco Road. A struggle ensued, Salazar said, leading Trevino to shoot Norris in the side. Norris died on his way to the hospital.

Salazar said the county’s mental health team, known as SMART, encountered Norris before and tried to get him help. Despite that, Norris was out on the streets again, the sheriff said.

Salazar said Tuesday during an unrelated virtual briefing that Trevino was dragged by Norris’ vehicle prior to the shooting and suffered an undisclosed injury.

Trevino remains on administrative leave, a BCSO spokesman confirmed Tuesday morning.

Trevino has worked for BCSO since April 2012.

Agency officials have released limited information since Salazar’s original briefing, 12 days ago, and have so far refused to provide a preliminary report from the fatal shooting.

Pressed for more information about the encounter on Oct. 6, a BCSO spokeswoman referred the Defenders to Salazar’s Sept. 30 on camera briefing. The spokeswoman acknowledged the briefing lacked some specifics, including whether or not Nicholas was armed.

Nearly two weeks after the fatal shooting, BCSO officials have still not confirmed whether Norris had a weapon.

Salazar said during Tuesday’s unrelated briefing that an edged weapon was found inside the passenger compartment of Norris’ vehicle but said investigators are still trying to determine if Norris used it at any point during the struggle.

Salazar also confirmed that BCSO’s mental health team and other area law enforcement agencies had encountered Norris up to four times before he was killed.

“For some reason they are being let out. I don’t know why they are not staying in the system,” Salazar said Tuesday, reiterating frustrations he first stated at the scene of the shooting last month.

An attorney representing Norris’ family said deputies are partially responsible for the death of Norris, who was in emotional distress after the loss of his mother, Stephanie Norris, who died of COVID-19.

“The tragedy of this situation is that Nick Norris was in need of help, and an officer who is sworn to help citizens ended up taking his life. We see this irony play out over and over with people who have mental health challenges. Police departments clearly need to improve how they train for and engage when someone is in an emotional crisis,” attorney Nicolette Ward said last week. “Our legal team is investigating all legal avenues in this matter and we call on Bexar County officials for complete transparency regarding the facts of this case.”

Ward works for Romanucci & Blandin, a high-powered firm with experience in potential police misconduct cases. Previously, the firm has represented the families of George Floyd, Javier Ambler and Botham Jean, among others.

About the Authors:

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined the KSAT 12 Defenders in 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat. He provides restaurant health reports for KSAT's "Behind the Kitchen Door." Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.

Fares Sabawi has been a journalist in San Antonio for four years. He has covered several topics, but specializes in crime, courts, open records and data visualization.