WATCH: Body camera video shows moment man was fatally shot after opening fire on drivers, police

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

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio police have released body camera video that captured the moment a man was fatally shot after he shot an officer and opened fire on drivers on an East Side Highway.

In the video, officers are seen responding to the 6800 block of Cross Spring on Aug. 30 for a suspect wanted on aggravated assault against a public servant.

The suspect failed to pull over when officers tried to do a traffic stop. However, the driver later pulled over to let a woman out of the vehicle before leading officers on a pursuit.

After striking a marked patrol unit, the suspect drove the wrong way on the I-10 E access road and crashed into another vehicle.

The man was then seen running from officers and firing multiple rounds, striking one officer in the arm.

Two officers shot multiple rounds at the man, who continued to run down a grassy embankment, ending on the main lanes of the highway.

While on the highway, the suspect shot at passing vehicles and tried to carjack a driver.

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

The two officers exchanged gunfire once again, this time striking the suspect, who later died due to his injuries.

The 40-year-old gunman, later 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 also identified the officer shot in the incident as Officer J. Owen, an eight-year veteran assigned to the Street Crimes Unit. He was taken to the hospital in stable condition.

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:

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

Victoria Lopez is a Digital Journalist at KSAT. Before joining the team in July 2022, she worked as a Digital Reporter at CBS 4 Rio Grande Valley and Local 23 News. Victoria graduated with a degree in Mass Communications — Public Relations from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.