UIW student was shot in head before crashing car, medical examiner confirms

ROTC student Joseph Banales killed on way home from military ball

SELMA, Texas – A 22-year-old nursing student at the University of the Incarnate Word was shot in the head before crashing his car Saturday night in Selma, according to the Bexar County medical examiner’s office.

Witnesses told Selma Police that Joseph Banales’ vehicle swerved before striking a median around 11:45 p.m. on Saturday, April 15, in the 15400 block of IH 35 N, near the Forum.

Banales’ godmother, Lisa Amato, told KSAT Monday that the family believed Banales had been shot in the head prior to crashing his vehicle but they wanted to wait to say anything until it was confirmed by the medical examiner.

“If anybody has any information we would really appreciate you coming forward because the shooter needs to be brought to justice,” Amato said. “It’s very difficult to know this man or woman is out there still living their life while we are grappling with Jospeh’s death and how to bury him.”

Amato said Banales was driving home after dropping his girlfriend at her house following a military ball.

“His girlfriend was on the phone with him. She heard the engine rev up and heard a bang, and then the phone went dead. His foot went off the accelerator, and he hit the median,” said Amato. “Police have a partial plate number description of the car. We’re hoping that with the media publicity that they’ll find who did this because that person got to go home to his family and Joseph didn’t.”

Banales’ family believes he was the victim of a road rage incident.

“The family is devastated and at a loss for why this happened,” Amato said. “His mother and father, four brothers and sister were also military, and Joseph wanted to be just like his parents.”

“His father is an ER nurse, and he was working that night at the hospital where he would have been taken. That’s how his dad would have found out about the accident if he had survived,” Amato told KSAT. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Officials at UIW confirmed to KSAT that Banales was a member of the ROTC program along with his twin sister.

The university hosted a Mass on Monday to pray for Banales’ family.

Sister Walter Maher, UIW VP of Mission in Ministry, told KSAT “It’s shocking and very raw right now, and the students are very moved.”

Sister Maher said grief and spiritual counselors will be available for as long as needed for students and staff trying to process Joseph’s death.

The family has started a scholarship in Joseph’s name at Security Service Federal Credit Union if anyone is interested in donating.

An investigation into the shooting is ongoing. KSAT will follow the story and provide more details as they become available.

About the Authors:

RJ Marquez is co-host of KSAT News Now and reports for Good Morning San Antonio. He's been at KSAT since 2010 and covered a variety of stories and events across the San Antonio area. He also covers the Spurs for on-air and digital platforms, including his Spurs newsletter. RJ has reported stories for KSAT Explains.