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Mother of man shot by SAPD says DA’s office still hasn’t shared autopsy 16 months later

 Arlene Garcia flipping through a photo book of pictures of her son, Kevin Johnson, in front of a memorial to him on the front porch of her home.
Josh Peck
Arlene Garcia, Kevin Johnson's mother, looking through photos of Johnson in front of a memorial dedicated to him on her home's front porch.

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Arlene Garcia says the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office has acted unprofessionally and still hasn’t given her the autopsy report for her son Kevin Johnson 16 months after he was shot and killed by SAPD, keeping her in the dark about exactly how he died.

Johnson was shot by SAPD officers on March 14, 2022, after an attempted arrest over an outstanding warrant led to a foot chase. Officers chased Johnson into the Alazan Creek, where they shot him after they claimed he pulled out a gun.

Garcia and her daughters have disputed the police narrative since Johnson was killed, and they are still fighting for justice. They’re also fighting to learn more about how he died, including gaining access to his autopsy report.

But Garcia said it wasn’t until she spoke to the media, including TPR, near the one-year anniversary of Johnson’s death, that the DA’s office reached out.

“I feel like now that I spoke with Univision and with you, [the DA’s Office have] been now calling me more,” Garcia said. “Because I hadn’t heard nothing, sir. It took them 361 days to even call me.”

During the phone call, she said she was told she could meet with Civil Rights Division Chief Daryl Harris at the DA’s office to go over more body camera footage and Johnson’s autopsy report.

But, she explained, when she and her family arrived, Harris seemed uninterested in the conversation and unwilling to engage with them.

“And the whole time he had his head down. He couldn’t even look me in the eye,” Garcia said. “He could not even face me.”

And Harris didn’t have the autopsy report Garcia said they were promised, which led Garcia to leave the meeting.

“I said, ‘You know what, sir? This conversation’s over.’ I said, ‘You don’t have none of my answers for me, I shouldn’t be here,’ ” Garcia said.

 Alrene Garcia holds a photo book of pictures of her son, Kevin Johnson.
Josh Peck
Alrene Garcia holds a photo book of pictures of her son, Kevin Johnson.

In a statement, Assistant District Attorney Pete Gallego explained why they didn’t have the report.

“Our Civil Rights Division had earlier been provided an autopsy report when the case was filed in December, but a cursory inspection clearly identified it was wrong,” Gallego said in the statement. “We spoke directly with the appropriate office and learned the week before the meeting that the correct report was not available. This was relayed directly to the victim’s family.” But Garcia’s family wasn’t told until they were already at the meeting.

Gallego explained that the DA’s office received the final autopsy report on May 30.

“Our office subsequently reached out once again to our primary contact in Mr. Johnson’s family and indicated that we were now in possession of the final autopsy report,” Gallego said. “However, despite a series of voice messages, we have been unsuccessful in arranging an additional conversation to discuss the autopsy.”

Garcia said scheduled phone calls with the DA’s office keep getting pushed back. She added that when she tried to return the one or two calls she’s missed, they never respond.

Despite Garcia’s characterizations of the DA’s office, Gallego said in his statement that they care about doing right by the families they engage with.

“Our prosecutors, investigators, advocates, and support staff certainly empathize with the pain and frustration that victims and their families so often feel,” he said. “We do all we can to seek justice on their behalf and to bring them some sense of closure.”

Grief has been a constant for Garcia since she lost her son.

“I miss appointments with my doctor,” she said. “Because I can’t go. I refuse to go because I can’t go and concentrate on myself because every morning I wake up and all I can think about is my son. If I leave this world, I’m leaving from a broken heart.”

Even though Garcia said she knows nothing will bring Johnson back, not knowing exactly how he died makes every day harder.

“I would like to see where exactly my son got shot,” she said. “I think I deserve to know that.”

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