Victim, suspect in fatal SE Side shooting attended Highlands High School, officials say

Man suspected of shooting 18 year old ex later found dead, police say

By Katrina Webber - Crime Fighters Reporter, Stephanie Serna - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - An 18-year-old woman who was shot dead in her Southeast Side apartment and the 19-year-old man accused of shooting her and then himself were seniors at Highlands High School, said San Antonio Independent School District spokeswoman Leslie Price.

San Antonio police found Clarissa Riojas with a gunshot wound to the head before 8 a.m. Wednesday inside her apartment in the 3900 block of SE Military Drive. 

"She was 18 years old, about to graduate from high school," said police Chief William McManus. "Very, very tragic. I spoke with the family. Very, very distraught."

McManus said the victim's 16-year-old sister was inside the apartment during the shooting, but wasn't injured.

The younger teen told officers that her sister's 19-year-old ex-boyfriend, Louis Nickerson, was to blame for the shooting.

"She called the police, said what was happening. By that time, (Riojas) had already been shot and he had already left," McManus said.

Riojas and Nickerson had dated for about a year and a half, he said. She recently broke up with him and cut off all ties about a week ago, McManus said.

The attack appeared to have taken the victim by surprise.

"(Nickerson) actually tried to shoot the door open and then eventually kicked it open -- tried to shoot the lock," McManus said.

After the shooting, the suspect ran away, McManus said.

San Antonio police launched an aerial search with their helicopter and also on the ground, which included a canine unit.

A short time later, they found the suspect in a nearby wooded area, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

McManus, who has an 18-year-old daughter, said the incident hit especially close to home.

"Make sure if you're a parent with a daughter who's dating, make sure you pay attention to the status of that relationship," he said.

Price released the following statement regarding the shooting:

"We learned this morning of the shocking deaths of two seniors at Highlands High School, which occurred this morning off campus. What happened is tragic, and our thoughts are with the family and friends of these students. A crisis team of counselors was sent to the school to support students who are trying to cope with the news of these deaths. Staff and faculty are being watchful for anyone at the school who may need assistance."

Angel Rixner, a Highlands High School junior who knew Riojas, said the news hit her hard.

"I feel like nobody should do that to someone, even if they're sad or if they have a problem. They should talk to someone about it instead of doing the wrong thing," Rixner said,

Several parents showed up early to pick up their teens, many of whom were also having a tough time coping. 

Rixner said talking to a counselor at the school helped.

"I kind of stopped crying a lot after I started to talk to the counselors in the library. They helped a lot of students today," she said.

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