‘It went from zero to 100′: Balcones Heights chief says after officers shoot, kill woman

Marta Lamar Prater, 49, allegedly chased officers with homemade weapon

SAN ANTONIO – Balcones Heights’ police chief said a deadly confrontation in which his officers shot and killed a woman this weekend escalated especially quickly.

The woman, identified as Marta Lamar Prater, 49, was shot dead at an abandoned car wash in the 200 block of N. Crossroads Boulevard on Saturday night.

Chief John Jahanara said an officer first noticed Prater, who appeared to be loitering after 8 p.m. while answering a call at a neighboring business.

“It went from zero to 100 just really quick,” he said Monday morning while explaining what happened during the confrontation.

Jahanara says after the officer told Prater to gather her possessions and leave the area, he suddenly heard the back window of his patrol car explode.

Balcones Heights police say Marta Prater, 49, used a homemade weapon to break out the back window of this patrol car. They say she also swung it at officers, who then shot and killed her. (KSAT 12 News)

He said it appeared Prater had used a homemade weapon first to break the window, then turned it on the officer.

“It was a pair of scissors attached to a tow strap, a nylon rope, and (she) swung it at him,” Jahanara said. “It became to an escalation where the individual chased one officer, swinging that weapon.”

Both the original officer and a second one who arrived to help tried to de-escalate the situation by using their Taser weapons, Jahanara said.

He said they had no effect because the prongs could not penetrate Prater’s ten layers of clothing.

Jahanara says one of the officers then pulled his gun and fired, hitting Prater in the head and neck. She died from her wounds.

“Was she trying to injure one of our officers, or what was happening? So, I think that was the unknown at that point,” he said. “But I do believe mental health played a big role in that.”

While Jahanara still has some questions about the deadly clash, he said some of his officers are familiar with Prater and recognized her from a previous trespassing arrest.

In that earlier case, no one was hurt.

Jahanara said the Texas Rangers are part of the team now investigating this deadly shooting.

About the Authors

Katrina Webber joined KSAT 12 in December 2009. She reports for Good Morning San Antonio. Katrina was born and raised in Queens, NY, but after living in Gulf Coast states for the past decade, she feels right at home in Texas. It's not unusual to find her singing karaoke or leading a song with her church choir when she's not on-air.

Azian Bermea is a photojournalist at KSAT.

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