Attorney representing family of teen fatally shot by SAPD says he will file civil rights lawsuit

Lee Merritt says SAPD acted negligently in connection with the death of 13-year-old Andre “AJ” Hernandez

SAN ANTONIO – An attorney representing the family of a 13-year-old boy who was shot and killed by San Antonio police announced he is preparing to file a civil rights lawsuit in connection with the incident.

During a news conference Tuesday, attorney Lee Merritt said SAPD acted negligently in the early morning hours of June 3, which resulted in the shooting death of Andre “AJ” Hernandez.

Merritt said he and the teen’s family were allowed to view portions of the body camera videos, and he says what he saw in the videos does not reflect what San Antonio police have been telling the public.

“Within one second of (Officer) Mr. Ramos exiting his vehicle, he already fired upon the vehicle occupied by Mr. Hernandez. In my opinion, he didn’t have sufficient time to obtain a target or warn the driver that he would shoot or gain compliance. He simply stepped out of his vehicle and fired into the vehicle driven by Mr. Hernandez,” Merritt said.

San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said at the scene that the teen was driving a stolen car that rammed into a police cruiser in the 5100 block of War Cloud Street. McManus said the officer feared for his comrade’s life because he thought the vehicle would injure him, so he opened fire on Andre, who later died at a hospital.

City Attorney Andy Segovia released the following statement on behalf of the City of San Antonio and SAPD:

“The City will respect the investigatory process and the State law regarding information that cannot be shared for incidents involving juveniles. As part the standard process, there is an active and ongoing internal investigation. Following this, it will be provided to the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office for independent review. The officer involved has been placed on administrative duty, pending the outcome of this investigation. Of course without waiting for the facts, Mr. Merritt will say the shooting was not justified, he is advocating for his client. We also expect any information shared publicly by Mr. Merritt concerning the video will be calculated to advance his perspective.”

The KSAT Defenders have discovered that Andre was arrested in April in Kinney County on seven charges of human smuggling and evading arrest with a vehicle. Merritt said even if that is the case, it has nothing to with the shooting incident.

During a news conference Tuesday, attorney Lee Merritt said SAPD acted negligently in the early morning hours of June 3, which resulted in the shooting death of Andre “AJ” Hernandez.

Related Stories:


About the Author:

David Ibañez has been managing editor of KSAT.com since the website's launch in October 2000.