SAN ANTONIO – A man accused of shooting three San Antonio police officers and firing at an untold number more has been ordered to be held in jail without bond after a hearing Wednesday in the 437th District Court.
Jesse Garcia, 28, faces five charges of aggravated assault of a public servant, two charges of aggravated robbery and a charge of aggravated kidnapping following a violent rampage on the city’s Southwest and West Sides Thursday evening.
Wednesday’s hearing, however, concerned Garcia’s bond on four previous cases: evading arrest with a vehicle, felon in possession of a firearm, unauthorized use of a vehicle and felony drug possession.
View the full hearing below:
SWAT Officer Adam Rule testified Wednesday that the Mitsubishi Garcia was riding in Thursday fled through an apartment complex toward General Hudnell before attempting to get on Highway 90.
Garcia eventually fired through the back windshield of the car toward Rule and his partner, Officer Rhett Shoquist, who were pursuing him in a marked patrol vehicle, Rule testified.
Garcia, handcuffed and shackled and dressed in a red jail jumpsuit that signifies he is being held in protective custody, briefly interrupted Rule’s testimony.
“It was not marked. It wasn’t even marked,” said Garcia before Judge Joel Perez told him not to disrupt the hearing.
“I heard rounds skipping off the ground and they were striking the undercarriage of our patrol vehicle,” said Rule, who was struck in the forearm by a round fired through the patrol vehicle’s window.
Shoquist, who was driving the patrol vehicle, was shot in the head.
“I had to offer him medical aid immediately or he would have died,” testified Rule, who identified Garcia as the shooter before finishing his testimony.
A second officer, Josue Vallejo-Martinez, testified that he joined the pursuit of Garcia from the downtown area after hearing calls for an officer down.
Garcia, who is accused of stealing a pickup truck at gunpoint, eventually ditched the vehicle and fired at Vallejo-Martinez and other officers with an AR-15 rifle as he ran toward a West Side apartment complex in the 2600 block of Westward Drive.
A light affixed to the shoulder Vallejo-Martinez’s uniform was struck by gunfire, according to the officer, who also testified that he witnessed Garcia shoot Officer Raul Chavez.
Garcia was taken into custody following an hours-long standoff Thursday night.
Chavez and Shoquist survived their injuries and have since been released from the hospital.
After hearing the testimony Wednesday, Perez revoked Garcia’s bail on the previous charges.
The judge told the court he based his decision on protecting the safety of the community.
“We’re happy for the community and for the officers who were present and involved with this case and who were shot, that Judge Perez did the right thing and remanded this defendant without bond. That’s what this defendant deserves, and we definitely look forward to prosecuting this defendant to the fullest extent of the law,” said Bexar County Assistant District Attorney Neal Cordero.
The attorney representing Garcia in court Wednesday referred questions from KSAT to defense attorney Arlene Gay, who is representing Garcia on the flurry of charges from Thursday’s shootout.
Gay did not respond to a phone call seeking comment Wednesday afternoon.
Garcia had been held on bonds totaling more than $4.3 million.
Public records show Garcia has a lengthy criminal history dating back to his teenage years.
‘Yeah, we have no comment on that at this time’
Court records show two of the previous cases against Garcia: unauthorized use of a vehicle and felony drug possession, are still awaiting indictment more than 11 months after Garcia was arrested on the charges.
“Yeah, we have no comment on that at this time, but we are looking into it,” said Cordero, when asked by KSAT about the delay in taking the cases to a grand jury.
Danny Diaz, president of the San Antonio Police Officers Association, sharply criticized Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales in a written statement Wednesday afternoon:
This past May, over 70% of San Antonio voters expressed a clear desire to make the safety of our community a priority; however, when local elective officials fail to prosecute repeat criminal offenders and continue to allow violent criminals to be released on bail, time after time; how can officers continue to do their jobs effectively and ensure the safety of our citizens?
Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales continues to disregard the needs of our city by circumventing policies that San Antonians have rejected. SAPD Chief McManus has raised the same concerns following last Thursday’s standoff which critically injured two SAPD police officers while attempting to arrest a convicted felon out on bond. A criminal, wanted on two felony warrants, along with misdemeanor offenses.
When will our District Attorney take accountability for his inactions? How many more citizens will need to lose their lives, and how many more officers will have to face similar consequences?
How many repeat offenders will it take for District Attorney, Joe Gonzales, to follow the laws to prevent these felons from causing more harm?
Selective processes for criminal cases have proven to be negligent and are creating an unsafe environment for our citizens. If the citizens of San Antonio voted an individual into office, we should hold them accountable when they fail to protect our city.