Increase of gun violence in Bexar County felt by BCSO and University Hospital

CDC data shows a 30% increase between 2019 and 2020 with the U.S. murder rate.

SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar says his department is feeling an increase in violence countywide, and the issue is connected to stolen guns. Meanwhile, at University Hospital, the number of patients with gun-related injuries since 2019 has nearly doubled.

KSAT has covered the increasing violence inside of our city limits. Murders are up in San Antonio this year compared to last, according to SAPD.

San Antonio Police Chief William McManus is blaming the increase on risky behaviors. Now, we are learning the increase extends into the county as well.

A dramatic video shared by the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office on its Facebook page shows three stolen cars filled with teens shooting at deputies.

“Somebody within that within one of those three cars began shooting at or toward deputies,” Salazar said. “These last several incidents where we’ve had deputy shot at, we’ll trace it back to a gun that was stolen either hours or days prior.”

Salazar said it’s not legal guns causing increased violence in the county.

“We’re seeing stolen guns go up,” Sheriff Salazar said.

He connects that to either gun owners leaving guns in their vehicles or not properly locking them at home.

When asked if they track or keep a log of stolen weapons, the sheriff said, “Well, I don’t. I don’t know that that’s a stat that we keep, but I certainly think that we should,” adding that other agencies should as well.

One stat there’s no denying is gun-related deaths are on the rise.

According to, which utilizes FBI data, gun-related deaths in Bexar County jumped up 12.3% from 2019 to 2020.

“It bothers you, but I can’t say I’m shocked. We’re seeing more of it out there,” Salazar said.

While the sheriff isn’t shocked by the increase in gun-related deaths and violence across the country, at University Hospital, they’ve never seen anything like it before.

“We’ve seen not quite a doubling, but almost twice as many patients last year with gun-related injuries as we did compare to two years prior to that,” said Dr. Mark Muir, adult trauma medical director at University Hospital.

Muir says they see anywhere between two and eight patients a day with gun-related injuries in the emergency room. That’s just at one location.

“It’s just an increase in the number of patients that we’re caring for and does put some additional burdens on our health care system,” Muir said.

Some are unintentional injuries, but most are violence-related. It’s something unprecedented in Muir’s experience.

“The consistent and sustained increase that we’ve seen since 2019 is pretty remarkable,” Muir said.

Both Salazar and Muir talked about gun safety and making sure they’re locked up, so they don’t fall into the wrong hands.

Before the pandemic started, the Injury Prevention Unit teamed up with BCSO to give out thousands of gun locks. Though no longer holding in-person events, the program still has free gun locks to give away. You can find a location to pick one up here.

About the Authors

Leigh Waldman is an investigative reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.

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