Officer shot on East Side highway ‘doing well,’ SAPD says

Suspect killed by police had seven criminal charges dismissed in the last several years, records show

SAN ANTONIO – A man who opened fire at drivers and police officers on an East Side highway Wednesday afternoon is dead, and one officer is hospitalized, according to SAPD Chief William McManus.

This is the second shooting that left officers hospitalized in the last week.

“Again, we have another officer in the hospital being shot by an individual we were trying to arrest and take off the streets because he was wanted on violent felony warrants,” McManus said.

SAPD identified the officer shot as Officer J. Owen, an eight-year veteran assigned to the Street Crimes Unit.

“Officer Owen is currently at the hospital and continues to recover and is doing well. We want to thank everyone for their continued thoughts and prayers,” San Antonio police said in an email.

The 40-year-old gunman, identified by SAPD as Michael Kirkland, was wanted on multiple felony warrants and a misdemeanor warrant before the shooting occurred, McManus said.

The felony warrants include aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault on a public servant and possibly evading, he said.

SAPD’s Street Crimes Unit was tracking the suspect, who McManus said has a “violent history,” on an Interstate 10 westbound access road, near the New Braunfels exit, when he saw officers and crashed into a SAPD patrol car and hit another vehicle.

Moments later, the gunman got out of the vehicle and opened fire on police officers while attempting to carjack a driver, the chief said.

The suspect then ran onto the interstate and fired gunshots along the way. He made his way to the westbound lanes and continued firing gunshots at passing drivers and tried to carjack them, McManus said.

One woman he tried to carjack refused to give him her car and he fired gunshots at her, police said. She wasn’t injured.

At least one of the officers fired at the suspect while he was on the main lanes of I-10. The suspect was hit by the gunfire and died from his injuries.

McManus said one officer was shot by the suspect sometime during the exchange and was taken to a hospital. The officer was listed in stable condition.

A woman who was with the suspect during the shooting was detained by SAPD. It’s unknown if she will be charged.

The shooting resulted in an hours-long closure of I-10 and New Braunfels and Highway 90 Westbound and Eastbound from Interstate 35.

District Attorney addresses backlash after suspect’s violent crimes dismissed at least seven times since 2019

Kirkland has a lengthy criminal history that spans several years, but he wasn’t officially convicted of the last seven charges on his record.

The 40-year-old suspect was identified by the Bexar County District Attorney as Michael Kirkland. (BCSO/KSAT)

With two shootings involving officers and suspects with outstanding crimes in the last week, McManus said he is still concerned about how these suspects were still out on the streets prior to these shootings.

“I remain concerned about people who are on the street who should be in jail because they’re habitual offenders, especially the violent crime habitual offenders, which this individual was,” McManus said.

District Attorney Joe Gonzales held a press conference Wednesday evening to address these concerns and why the charges were dismissed against Kirkland.

With seven separate cases since late 2019, Gonzales said the dismissals were typically due to lack of evidence, not able to locate victims or witnesses, or another technicality.

“This man has had incredible luck because every one of those cases where we’ve tried to go to trial, where we’ve tried to make him accountable, we’ve been unable to do that because of proof problems,” Gonzales said during a press conference. “That’s the situation we find ourselves in.”

Gonzales said when it comes to a criminal case, they have to be able to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the crime was committed. Otherwise, the suspect will not be convicted.

Below is a list of the seven criminal cases brought to the DA involving the suspect that were dismissed, according to Gonzales:

  • Sept. 2, 2019
    • Aggravated Assault w/ Deadly Weapon
    • Unable to locate victim, case dismissed
  • Sept. 5, 2019
    • Family violence assault
    • Missing victim/complainant
    • Case dismissed
  • Sept. 11, 2019
    • Arson of Habitation
    • Couldn’t locate complainant, didn’t have critical witness to prove arson
    • Case dismissed
  • Sept. 20, 2019
    • Evading Arrest with a vehicle
    • Insufficient evidence to go forward; DA never received video detailing chase from law enforcement
    • Case dismissed
  • Nov. 27, 2020
    • Aggravated Assault w/ Deadly Weapon
    • Victim was an individual who was sentenced to prison. By the time the DA’s office located him and reached out, asking for cooperation, he wasn’t interested.
    • Case dismissed
  • July 15, 2023
    • Terroristic threat
    • Active warrant -- not arrested
  • August 2023
    • Aggravated Assault Against Public Servant
    • Case filed by Somerset Police Department
    • Active warrant -- not arrested

“This individual was a habitual offender... But that doesn’t mean anything for punishment if we can’t even get that far,” Gonzales said.

According to Bexar County court records, Kirkland’s criminal record dates back even further to the year 2000. It’s unclear if he faced any prison time for those charges.

About the Authors

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.

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