SAN ANTONIO – U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, of San Antonio, is the latest critic of Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales.
Roy, a Republican, penned a letter to Gonzales on Friday, adding fuel to the fire swirling around the district attorney since three shootings involving “habitual offenders” led to five SAPD officers being hospitalized in less than a week.
“That is my question to you, and to the entire leadership of San Antonio – why? Is it your office’s preferred policy to release dangerous criminals on the streets?” Roy said in the letter. “The families of these officers and the people of San Antonio deserve to know the answers to these questions.”
Roy joined San Antonio Police Chief William McManus and the San Antonio Police Officers’ Association in their frustrations and concerns with the conviction process in Bexar County.
The first shooting occurred Aug. 24, when SAPD officers tried to arrest 28-year-old Jesse Garcia Jr., who was holed up inside a West Side apartment near Highway 90 and Loop 410 for several hours.
Garcia Jr. was out on two bonds and was wanted on three warrants at the time of the incident, according to McManus. Three SAPD officers were shot by Garcia Jr. before he was arrested and two of them were taken to the hospital with serious injuries.
This week, two other shootings occurred on Wednesday involving suspects with lengthy criminal histories and no convictions.
A 40-year-old man wanted on multiple felony warrants and a misdemeanor warrant opened fire at drivers and police officers on an East Side highway. One officer was wounded before the suspect was shot and killed.
The suspect, Michael Kirkland, had the last seven criminal charges on his record dismissed prior to the shooting.
Hours later, another shooting occurred where an officer was shot while pursuing two car burglary suspects. One of the suspects, Victor Fernandes, 21, was shot and killed by officers, but both of them had criminal charges that had also been dismissed.
“San Antonio Police Chief Bill McManus rightfully questioned why individuals with criminal histories as extensive as Garcia and the suspect’s involved in (Wednesday’s) incidents would be allowed back on the streets,” Roy said in the letter.
Roy included several questions for the DA, which included some of the following:
- What is your office’s current policy on allowing prosecutors to object to low bond amounts or calling for no bonds for certain defendants?
- Do you intend to update this policy in the wake of these incidents?
- What bond amount did your office recommend in Garcia’s case?
- What is your office currently doing to ensure violent career criminals are not benefitting from lenient bond policies?
In the letter, the congressman also said, “Kindly advise as to the intentions of your office before we consider any future federal grants or other requests for federal resources.”
KSAT 12 reached out to the District Attorney’s Office for a response to the letter. Here’s what we’ve received so far:
“The District Attorney is now reviewing the letter and will respond to the Congressman in due course.”
You can read the full letter from Roy below:
We’ll bring more updates to this story as they become available.