Three SAPD officers charged with murder after gunning down woman in apartment, Chief McManus says

Sgt. Alfred Flores, Officer Eleazar Alejandro and Officer Nathaniel Villalobos are charged in 46-year-old Melissa Perez’s death

SAN ANTONIO – Three San Antonio police officers are charged with murder after gunning down a woman inside her apartment early Friday, according to Chief William McManus.

The three officers were identified as Sgt. Alfred Flores (14 years of service), Officer Eleazar Alejandro ( 5 years of service), and Officer Nathaniel Villalobos (2 years of service).

All of the officers were taken into custody. The department said the officers’ employment was terminated. In another instance, SAPD said they were suspended without pay. KSAT has reached out for further clarification.

The shooting happened early Friday morning in the 6200 block of Old Pearsall Road on the Southwest Side.

Officers were called just after midnight for a disturbance of a woman destroying property. Chief McManus said she was cutting wires through a fire alarm system to the complex -- a felony of criminal mischief.

The woman, identified as 46-year-old Melissa Perez, was speaking with the San Antonio Fire Department in the parking lot when police contacted her.

She provided them with her name, date of birth, and apartment number.

McManus said Perez was having a mental health crisis, and officers tried to get her to go toward their patrol car. However, she ran back to her apartment and locked the door.

Police then tried to speak with her through an open window.

Still from bodycam video of shooting at apartment complex in the 6200 block of Old Pearsall Road. (KSAT 2023)

One of the officers then removed the screen door from the open window on the porch, according to McManus.

Perez then reportedly reached for a glass candle and threw it at the officer.

Police backed away and waited for more officers and a supervisor to arrive at the scene, McManus said.

One group of officers was at the front of the apartment, and three officers were stationed at the back patio of the apartment -- Flores, Alejandro, and Villalobos.

The three officers tried to coax Perez out of the apartment, but she refused.

Soon after, two of the officers jumped the railing and got onto the patio, according to McManus. One of them said Perez picked up a hammer and was “approaching them from inside.”

McManus said Perez swung the hammer from inside the apartment toward the officers and hit the window, breaking it.

One of the officers fired his weapon at Perez, but it didn’t appear that she was struck, according to SAPD.

Perez went toward the window again while still armed with the hammer, and all three officers opened fire, McManus said. She was hit by the gunfire at least two times.

After the shooting, officers forced their way inside the apartment and provided medical aid until EMS arrived. Perez died at the scene from her injuries.

McManus said the incident was reviewed by the department and the Bexar County District Attorney’s Civil Rights Division, and warrants were issued for the three officers.

They’re all charged with murder and were taken into custody late Friday with a bond of $100,000.

“The shooting officers’ actions were not consistent with SAPD’s policy and training. They placed themselves in a situation where they used deadly force, which was not reasonable given all the circumstances as we now understand them,” McManus said.

Three separate investigations will follow their arrests -- two from SAPD’s Internal Affairs and Homicide Unit and one from the DA’s Civil Rights Division.

As of Saturday morning, all three officers have made their bond and are released pending trial.

A breakdown of the officers’ body camera footage

WARNING: The bodycam video may contain images that are disturbing to some individuals. Viewer discretion is advised.

The bodycam video starts with one officer approaching Perez in the apartment complex’s parking lot while she is out with her dog.

The officer then gets closer and says, “Hey, lady, get over here.”

Perez then began walking away, and the officer pursued her and yelled, “Get over here.”

She replies, “Nope,” and continues to walk toward her apartment. The officer begins running after her.

The bodycam video then shows the officer getting to the woman’s balcony and jumping over it.

There was a glimpse of the officer’s hand appearing to try to open the back door.

The woman’s window was open, and the officer immediately began ripping the screen without saying anything to her.

She screams at him to stop trying to get in and tries to close the window.

The officer then pulled away and began raising his gun at the woman.

“You’re going to get shot,” the officer yells at her.

“Shoot me,” she replies.

Glass is then heard shattering, and the woman yells something at the officers.

The video then cuts to multiple officers standing at the balcony and then one officer again jumping over it.

“Hold on,” the officer says.

The woman replies, “You ain’t got no warrant.”

Another officer then says, “Let’s go. Move it.”

Two officers were then seen standing in the patio area.

One officer then turned around to reveal several officers who then all started yelling, “Watch out! Watch out!” before gunshots erupted from the officers toward the woman. From a different perspective, one of the officers could be seen trying to open the door again.

The woman appeared to be still standing.

The officers start yelling to her, “Hey! Hey!” and more gunshots go off.

From another perspective, multiple officers could be seen firing shots at the woman’s apartment.

GMSA Coverage from shooting

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About the Authors:

Cody King is a digital journalist for KSAT 12. She previously worked for WICS/WRSP 20 in Springfield, Illinois.

Ivan Herrera has worked as a journalist in San Antonio since 2016. His work for KSAT 12 and includes covering breaking news of the day, as well as producing Q&As and content for the "South Texas Pride" and "KSAT Money" series.