SAN ANTONIO – The daughter of a woman killed by three San Antonio police officers and her attorney are speaking out days after the officers were charged with murder.
Alexis Tovar, the daughter of Melissa Perez, spoke with “Good Morning America” along with attorney Dan Packard, who said there needs to be “systemic changes” at SAPD.
Perez, 46, was killed at her apartment on the Southwest Side early Friday morning as she was experiencing a mental health crisis, according to SAPD. She had a hammer in her hand when police shot her through a patio window and door, Chief William McManus previously said.
Sgt. Alfred Flores, Officer Eleazar Alejandro and Officer Nathaniel Villalobos were charged with murder and have since been released on bond.
“I just don’t want this to happen again ... she didn’t deserve this,” Tovar told “Good Morning America” in a segment that aired on Monday morning. “Those officers took my life, I will never be the same person again.”
Tovar had previously released a statement through her attorney on Saturday afternoon to ABC News. In that statement, she said her family had always been “pro-police” and they “can’t express how hurt we are.”
Packard told “Good Morning America” that they want to prevent a shooting like this from happening again.
He added that there needs to be “systemic changes at the police department” and not just additional training.
“The fact that three officers all thought this was OK, the fact that the first words out of their mouth was ‘you’re going to get shot’ rather than ‘we’re here to help...’” he said.
Packard said the officers had time to de-escalate the situation. See a portion of his interview in the video player above.
McManus has said the officers’ actions were not reasonable and they “placed themselves in a situation where they used deadly force.”
At 2 a.m. on Friday, officers were called to the Rosemont at Miller’s Pond apartments for a report of a woman, later identified as Perez, cutting wires through a fire alarm system.
After officers arrived, Perez ran back to her apartment and locked the door, McManus said.
Police tried to speak with Perez through a window, but she threw a glass candle at an officer, striking him in the arm, McManus said. Officers Flores, Alejandro and Villalobos moved toward the back patio of Perez’s apartment and unsuccessfully attempted to coax Perez outside.
Two of the three officers jumped the railing onto the patio, and spoke to Perez through a window and door.
One officer said Perez approached them with a hammer and swung it toward the officers, breaking a window, McManus said.
An officer then shot at her but she wasn’t hit, McManus said. When Perez approached the window again with the hammer, all three officers opened fire, McManus said.
Perez was hit two times and died at the scene.
The murder charges for the three officers were handed down that evening, and three separate investigations are underway.
SAPD said the officers were suspended without pay and are going through the termination process.
The cases have been assigned to the Civil Rights Division of the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office, which will review the evidence and prepare the cases for presentation to a grand jury.
Danny Diaz, president of the San Antonio Police Officers’ Association released the following statement regarding the incident:
On behalf of the San Antonio Police Officers’ Association, we express our deepest condolences to Melissa Perez’s family. Following the tragic incident, Chief McManus followed all necessary protocols. All three officers have been suspended indefinitely. At this time, this is an active investigation, and cannot speak to the matter further until the investigation is complete and judicial process is underway.