By Mary Moreno, The San Antonio Express-News
In a broad-daylight shooting played out in front of neighbors, police and television cameras, San Antonio police shot and killed a man Monday in his sport utility vehicle while his two children sat in the back seat.
The shooting capped a bizarre series of events that ended with two children left without parents and police trying to understand what sparked the rage that killed Martha Wilson inside her family's Northeast Side home.
Gary Wilson, 43, was suspected of killing his 41-year-old wife, whom police found with her hands bound inside the manicured house in the 13700 block of Wondering Oak. Officers would not say how she died.
Police were called to the four-bedroom, cul-de-sac home at about 10:15 a.m. after a neighbor saw Gary Wilson leaving so hastily that he crashed his Mercury Mountaineer against the garage door as it opened.
Wilson was gone by the time police arrived, but inside the home they found his wife's body.
A police spokesman said he didn't know where the children were when their mother was killed, whether they were home or in school. However, nearly three hours after Wilson's body was found, police issued an Amber Alert for the 10-year-old boy and 11-year-old girl.
Just minutes after the alert was put out, police got a tip that Wilson was returning home.
Neighbors Belkiss Rodriguez and Keri Babcock were drawn out of their homes by the swarm of police officers investigating Martha Wilson's death and saw Gary Wilson's return.
The women said they recognized their neighbor's white SUV when he neared Wondering Oak.
"There's Gary," neighbors said, pointing him out to police, Babcock said.
Officer Danny McCumber was part of a police checkpoint that stopped all cars at Wondering Oak and Auburn Oaks. Wilson pulled his SUV up to police, but "Gary just floored it and hit him," Babcock said.
McCumber, 31, was thrown into the air by the speeding SUV, Rodriguez said.
McCumber was taken to Brooke Army Medical Center with minor injuries, police said. His condition was not available late Monday.
After speeding by police, Wilson stopped in his driveway, where police swarmed around the SUV, trying to get him to come out, police spokeswoman Sandy Gutierrez said.
But Wilson refused and reached over his left shoulder, according to a police news release.
"Officer (David) Bierman, fearing for his life, fired several times at the suspect," the statement said.
Gary Wilson died in the driver's seat.
Bierman has been placed on administrative leave, pending an investigation of the shooting.
The children were in the back seat when Wilson was shot but were not physically hurt, officials said. They were carried out by police officers as the girl cried out for her father, witnesses said.
"I want my daddy," the girl wailed from the arms of an officer who carried her to a nearby home.
The children were taken by Child Protective Services and placed with local relatives whom the children know well, said Mary Walker, a spokeswoman for the agency.
"They are very traumatized and were told in the past hour about their mother," she said at about 5:30 p.m. "The little boy is literally sick, and they are so traumatized."
Walker said Child Protective Services would offer "whatever the family needs, whatever that involves, whether it's counseling, therapy or anything they need."
Raven Rodriguez, 10, attends Wetmore Elementary School with the Wilsons' son and said she often played with them.
"I just feel bad for them now because they don't have parents," she said.
The Wilsons' daughter attends Driscoll Middle School.
Martha Wilson worked for the North East School District and was well regarded in her neighborhood.
Francis Rogers considered Martha Wilson a friend and had last seen her Friday when she invited her over for a bowl of soup. Rogers also occasionally took care of the Wilsons' children.
"She's got to be one of the sweetest people," Rogers said.
Rogers said Martha Wilson was very private and never mentioned having marital problems, though Rogers thought Gary Wilson's trouble finding construction work recently was putting pressure on their marriage.
Police didn't say what might have sparked the violence at the Wilson home. Police hadn't been out to their home for any domestic disturbances in at least the past two years, officers said.
Gary Wilson had received psychiatric treatment for about two weeks on an emergency commitment, police said, but they wouldn't say what led to the commitment. He also had a minor criminal record, with two arrests for evading police and one for disturbing the peace.
Neighbors described Wilson as being somewhat strange, often complaining that the homeowners association was picking on him or that other neighbors were not following the association's rules.