Four days after indictment, prosecutors dismiss manslaughter charge against BCSO deputy

Brandin Moran was indicted by grand jury in Elmendorf shooting

Illustration (Graham Media Group)

SAN ANTONIO – A Bexar County sheriff’s deputy who killed an Elemendorf man in 2020 is no longer facing criminal charges four days after he was indicted by a grand jury.

On Monday, a Bexar County grand jury saw enough evidence to charge Deputy Brandin Moran with manslaughter, alleging that he “recklessly” caused the death of Jesus Bonito Garcia on March 9, 2020. On Friday, Bexar County court records show the second-degree felony charge was dismissed, due to insufficient evidence.

In the dismissal motion obtained by the KSAT 12 Defenders, prosecutors noted that they were “unable to prove (the case) beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.”

On Friday, after 5 p.m., Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales released a lengthy statement defending the decision, citing video footage of the shooting, which happened in Garcia’s home in the 17000 block of Blue Horizon after a neighbor reported seeing a man dragging a woman into the home by her hair.

“In this case, Deputy Moran discovered Jesus Garcia in possession of a potentially lethal weapon while also pinning his wife on the ground and refusing to let her go. We would have to disprove that this defense applied beyond a reasonable doubt. We do not believe we can do that,” Gonzales wrote. “We may quarrel with the law, but it is the law. Second, under Texas law, we would also have to disprove that Deputy Moran acted to defend Ms. Garcia’s life. Given that Mr. Garcia held a potentially lethal weapon and had his wife essentially held hostage, we do not believe we could make this showing beyond a reasonable doubt.”

BCSO officials at the scene claimed that Garcia approached both an Elmendorf police officer and Moran in a threatening manner, forcing Moran to repeatedly fire his weapon.

A wrongful death lawsuit filed against Moran and Bexar County earlier this month states that Garcia was holding a screwdriver to his own neck and threatening to harm himself, when Moran repeatedly fired his service weapon at him less than 10 seconds “after bursting into the home” with his gun drawn. Garcia was shot five times, according to the lawsuit.

“We know this result is disappointing to Mr. Garcia’s loved ones, and we also know that certain members of this community, which has seen too many police shootings, will be disappointed in the result,” Gonzales wrote. “But once I realized we could not prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt, given the particularities of Texas law, it was our ethical duty to dismiss it.”

Though peace officer on-duty shootings have been regularly presented to a grand jury since 2019, an indictment of an officer for a fatal shooting is a rare occurrence in Bexar County.

Moran was placed on administrative leave following the indictment, but will return to duty now that the charge has been dismissed, according to the sheriff’s office.

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About the Authors:

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined KSAT Investigates in September 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat and on the Six O'Clock News. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.