SAN ANTONIO – As of Friday evening, no charges have been filed against a man suspected of shooting and killing a homeless man, an SAPD spokeswoman said.
The shooting occurred Thursday morning outside a gas station east of downtown at Interstate 37 and Elm.
“I think what disturbed me was there didn’t seem to be any fight or altercation,” said Dawn White-Fosnick, president and CEO of Christian Assistance Ministry. “It just seemed like he was shot for no reason.”
CAM is located across the street from a frequent encampment beneath I-37. Its mission is to help San Antonio’s unsheltered population and working poor families.
A surveillance camera overlooking the CAM parking lot was pointed directly at the gas station.
White-Fosnick said not only did she recognize the man who appeared unarmed as one of CAM’s unsheltered clients, she and her staff were shocked watching what had happened.
“We observed him approaching a gentleman who was walking to a white truck and probably saying something,” she said. “Within about 10 seconds, the gentleman pulled out a gun and shot him in the stomach.”
What happened next, she said, was just as jarring.
“The individual who shot him then stepped over him calmly, got in his truck and just drove off,” White-Fosnick said.
Brittany Ackerson, an outreach worker for another nonprofit helping the unsheltered, said, “Multiple people walk by that gas station as he was laying there dying.”
San Antonio police said the 35-year-old man died later at the hospital.
Ackerson said she watched the CAM surveillance video several times thinking about those she serves on a daily basis.
“I was extremely upset,” Ackerson said. “The lack of humanity for somebody dying in the middle of a gas station was just terrifying.”
After leaving the scene, the shooter parked around the block where he was questioned and detained, but police said he is cooperating. The weapon also was recovered. No charges have been filed at this time as the investigation continues, the SAPD spokeswoman said.
She said the shooter told officers he had felt threatened by the man.
“There was a lot of grace given to the shooter,” White-Fosnick said.
And, she said her client would often panhandle at the gas station where he was killed.
Ackerson, who knew the man, said, “He was very, very kind and loving.” She said at one point he had a home he would share often with others who were unsheltered.
Both White-Fosnick and Ackerson said the shooting says a lot about how many are fearful when they encounter someone who is disheveled and poorly dressed.
“Our homeless, for the most part, are really only a danger to themselves,” White-Fosnick said. “I don’t want the public to think that they need to kill people, our homeless people or be scared of them.”
“These are humans out here that are struggling with mental health and substance abuse, and they need just as much love as anyone else,” Ackerson said.
Ackerson said she was one of them at one time.
“By the grace of God, I changed and nobody gave up on me,” Ackerson said.