SA man accused of firing AR-15 rifle at West Side church

Javier Sanchez, 33, facing deadly conduct with a firearm charge

By Adrian Garcia - Digital Journalist

Courtesy: Bexar County Jail

SAN ANTONIO - On Wednesday afternoon, a 33-year-old man stopped his car in the middle of a West Side street, got out and opened fire on the Emanuel United Methodist Church with an AR-15 rifle. He did not know if the church was occupied, according to San Antonio police.

Javier Sanchez was taken into custody later that day, Feb. 27, and was booked into the Bexar County Jail on charges of deadly conduct with a firearm, a third-degree felony. Police said they found a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 rifle in his vehicle.

Police said officers responded around 11:55 a.m. to the church, located in the 3200 block of West Poplar Street near Northwest 24th Street and Culebra Road, for a report of a shooting.

A witness told police he saw a man -- later identified as Sanchez -- stop his 2012 GM Yukon in the middle of the street, get out of the driver's side and begin firing toward the church, according to a report obtained by KSAT.com.

The witness said Sanchez got back in the SUV and fled westbound from the scene.

According to police, officers found eight bullet holes in a book drop box in front of the church, a cracked window caused by the shooting and three shell casings in the middle of the street.

Police said Sanchez was connected to an earlier shooting. Investigators learned he was wearing an ankle monitor, which helped in tracking Sanchez 7 miles away near Bandera Road and Loop 410.

With help from the police department's Eagle helicopter and Leon Valley police, authorities initiated a traffic stop on the suspect vehicle and arrested Sanchez.

During the booking process at the Central Magistrate Office, police requested personnel to "mentally evaluate" Sanchez after he answered "Yes" to three of the four mental health diversion questions, according to the report.

On May 3, 2018, Sanchez was released from custody after posting bond for an unrelated aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge, according to online records.

Sanchez is also facing a misdemeanor charge of deadly conduct, according to online records.

He is still in custody and remanded without bond.

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