Man arrested for setting West Side restaurant on fire, police say

Suspect said he was upset with employees because they didn’t give him food, water

Gerald Salazar has been charged with arson, records show. (Bexar County Jail)

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio police have arrested a man accused of setting fire to a West Side restaurant over the summer.

Records with the Bexar County Jail show Gerald Salazar, 36, was apprehended on Tuesday and charged with arson, a second-degree felony. His bond is set at $50,000.

Police said Salazar set a planter outside the Apetitos Mexican Restaurant on fire in the early morning hours of July 30. The restaurant is located in the 1600 block of Meadow Way Drive, near Marbach Road and Loop 410.

The planter was in the restaurant patio that extended to the main structure, police said. An arrest warrant affidavit does not state the amount of damage that the building sustained.

A witness told police that she saw a shirtless man running away from the fire, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

Surveillance video showed the suspect igniting the fire and walking “back and forth,” the affidavit states.

The restaurant owner and her relative recognized the suspect as Salazar, saying he is a homeless man who frequents the area.

A police officer then spotted Salazar panhandling in the area on Tuesday and took him into custody.

Salazar told officers that he visited the restaurant in the past three months and said he had a conflict with some employees there. He said he was upset with them because they turned him away when he asked for water and food, the affidavit states.

Salazar said he didn’t remember setting the fire, and he sometimes forgets what he’s doing, according to the affidavit.

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Rebecca Salinas joined KSAT in the fall of 2019. Her skills include content management, engagement and reporting.