Family and friends honor 17 people in San Antonio killed in police, deputy shootings

This comes on the eve of October 22nd, which is National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality

SAN ANTONIO – Deborah Bush said even nine years later, she can clearly remember the smile of her nephew, Marquise Jones.

Walking around Milam Park on Saturday was hard for her not to cry and think about it.

“We lost Marquise Jones in 2014,″ Bush said. “It makes me sad that we even have to do something like this.”

Bush was one of the organizers of a remembrance event held Saturday at Milam Park in downtown San Antonio to honor people killed by police and deputy shootings in the area.

The event came in solidarity with Oct. 22 — a National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality — held in San Antonio by the Marquise Jones Foundation and ACT 4 SA.

“They’re the forgotten,” Bush said. “This is what people are going to do and keep putting their names out there so people don’t forget who they were.”

In the memorial space were the pictures, names and stories of 16 people killed by police shootings.

Family and friends honored Marquise Jones, Charles “Chop” Roundtree, Kevin Johnson, Melissa Perez, Andre “AJ” Hernandez, Norman Cooper, Emmanuel Mora, Baltasar Rodriguez Jr, Damian Daniels, Gilbert Flores, Kevin “Splash” Johnson, Antronie Scott, Bill Jones, Darrell Zemault Sr, and John Peña Montez.

A 17th photo was added during the ceremony.

“For them to come out and celebrate their loved ones with us, I’m excited about it,” Bush said.

Among those who attended was Jasmine Johnson. She lost her brother Kevin Johnson in 2022.

“It’s an unbearing pain,” Jasmine said. “He was shot 12 times from behind.”

Lynda Espinoza, the mother of Andre “AJ” Hernandez, honored her son on Saturday. At the age of 13, Hernandez was shot and killed by SAPD in 2022.

“He was a kind and very amazing soul,” Espinoza said in a speech during the event. “Remember him as a human being that put others first before him.”

Hernandez’s birthday was Friday, just a day before this event. Organizers had a birthday card for the community to sign to honor him.

Some of these shootings, like that of Melissa Perez, who was experiencing a mental health crisis when she was shot and killed just a few months ago, ended with fired officers and additional funding for mental health response.

One of the most recent of these fatal police shootings in San Antonio was just one month ago. SAPD released the dash and body camera footage of that night, saying officers fatally shot Jesus Hernandez because he was holding a machete that could “seriously injure or kill” someone.

SAPD has said in the past that each shooting investigation is treated separately. These cases where SAPD shoots a suspect are forwarded to the District Attorney’s office for review.

KSAT 12 reached out to SAPD via email for a response to the event. As of Saturday night, KSAT 12 has yet to hear back.

Organizers said the displays only showed a handful of people who have died in police and deputy shootings. But regardless, families hope these situations can be prevented in the future.

“This is devastating to families because we never heal,” Bush said. “Every time there’s a murder or a shooting or a murder of someone’s loved one, it brings back all the memories of your loved one no matter how long it’s been.”

To learn more about the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation on October 22, click here.

About the Authors:

Avery Everett is a news reporter and multimedia journalist at KSAT 12 News. Avery is a Philadelphia native. If she’s not at the station, she’s either on a hiking or biking trail. A lover of charcuterie boards and chocolate chip cookies, Avery’s also looking forward to eating her way through San Antonio, one taco shop at a time!

Azian Bermea is a photojournalist at KSAT.