Panhandler assaults driver and steals his car before crashing into patrol vehicle, SAPD says

The incident happened in the 1400 block of North Zarzamora Street

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said there are safer ways to help the homeless. Over the weekend, however, one driver had a tough lesson.

“I don’t think it’s the best to give out money on the street; there are lots of reasons why that can be troubling, but mostly because it’s not a good long-term solution,” said Dawn White-Fosdick, CEO of Christian Assistance Ministries.

Just before midnight on Friday, SAPD said a man stopped his car to give money to a panhandler. During the exchange, the panhandler assaulted the driver and managed to steal his vehicle, according to SAPD.

Police said they were able to find the panhandler while he was still in the stolen car. The panhandler tried to evade police and eventually crashed into a SAPD patrol unit with two officers inside, police said. The two officers managed to not be injured in the collision.

White-Fosdick agrees with McManus, who urged people to find safer ways to help the homeless on social media.

“We don’t want people to be afraid of those who are struggling, and yet we want to make sure if you want to give back to someone, you do it in a safe way,” said White-Fosdick.

White-Fosdick says she will not tell someone never to give someone on the street money if they feel compelled to do so, but she always recommends giving back through a nonprofit.

“Your dollar is going to go a lot further if you’re connected to an opportunity to help people in a significant way,” said White-Fosdick.

“Help feed them for a couple of days as opposed to…” said KSAT’s John Paul Barajas.

“That one moment, where you don’t even know if what you’re doing is good for that person,” said White-Fosdick.

About the Authors

John Paul Barajas is a reporter at KSAT 12. Previously, he worked at KRGV 5 in the Rio Grande Valley. He has a degree from the University of Houston. In his free time, he likes to get a workout in, spend time on the water and check out good eats and drinks.

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.

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