By Lomi KrielSan Antonio, TX- A veteran police officer patrolling the Northwest Side for several robbery suspects Thursday shot at and grazed a man's forehead after fearing he was reaching for a weapon -- although it later was determined he only was holding his keys.
San Antonio Express-News
Police said San Antonio Fear Free Environment, or SAFFE, Officer Robert Rosales, who has been on the force 22 years, feared the man was grabbing a weapon because he saw him holding something black while reaching inside his jacket.
The man was taken to University Hospital in good condition.
According to police spokesman Sgt. Gabe Trevino, Rosales and fellow SAFFE Officer Arthur Struxness, a 29-year veteran, were scouring the area in the 1800 block of Jackson Keller Road around 3 p.m. Rosales and Struxness were trying to identify several suspects wanted in a spate of recent robberies in the area.
As the two officers traveled north in their patrol car, they noticed three men in their 20s walking the same way.
"They decided to talk to them, to identify them," Trevino said, adding the officers made what is called a "field contact" to gather more information.
SAFFE officers, who are assigned to specific neighborhoods, routinely work as liaisons between residents and district patrol officers.
Rosales, who was driving the patrol car, pulled over and stopped in front of the men.
As the officers were getting out their cars, Trevino said they told the men to put their hands in the air.
"As the man pulled out his hands, the officer saw something black and fired one shot," Trevino said.
Officers later found the man's keys under the patrol car and believe that's what Rosales saw, although an investigation is pending.
Rosales will be placed on routine administrative leave until the Police Department's shooting team forwards its findings to Chief William McManus and the Bexar County district attorney's office.
The third police-related shooting under McManus's watch, it came on the heels of a Nov. 25 incident where officers chased two robbery suspects on the East Side. In another incident, individuals fired shots at the officers, prompting return fire, but no one was hurt and arrests were made without further incident.
McManus took the top post shortly after a 13-day period in February and March where officers, citing fear for their own safety or that of others, fired their weapons on six occasions, killing three people.
Bullet fired by Tex. cop grazes man's forehead