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‘You will be checked for weapons’ — SAPD says Market Square will see more safety measures

Fiesta goers pack Market Square on April 4, 2023.
Joey Palacious
Fiesta goers pack Market Square on April 4, 2023.

Fiesta-goers at Market Square could see new safety precautions at celebrations next year following this weekend’s shooting at Fiesta de Los Reyes that killed two and injured four.

San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said in a video Monday that the department will take new steps moving forward.

“Next year if you decide you’re going to go to Market Square and celebrate Fiesta, you can be assured that you will be checked for weapons as you walk into Market Square,” he said.

Bags and backpacks will also be checked.

Fiesta de Los Reyes had five different entry points this year.

Rey Feo Consejo Educational Foundation, which organizes Fiesta de Los Reyes, said it is working with the city and Fiesta Commission to enhance security measures at the event.

"Public safety is our top priority. No additional information on how that will be implemented is available at this time," the Foundation said in a statement to TPR.

Different Fiesta events have varying safety protocols in place. The Battle of Flowers parade enforces a clear bag policy. King William Fair does not have any bag size or type restriction, but all participants and their belongings are subject to search.

The city’s annual celebration was interrupted early Sunday morning after an altercation between two suspects led to a shooting.

The suspects were identified as 18-year-old Mikey Valdez and 20-year-old Albert Cisneros.

SAPD said two officers witnessed Valdez fire a handgun and strike Cisneros. Officers returned fire at Valdez and he died at the scene. It was unclear what role Cisneros played. He was transported to a local hospital and later died.

Four bystanders were injured in the incident. Two were treated and released at the scene with minor injuries. The two others sustained gunshot wounds and were hospitalized for non-life threatening injuries.

McManus said in the video that the shooting was an isolated event.

“This was not any kind of a mass event,” he said. “This was between two individuals who decided to shoot at each other at a crowded Market Square event.”

This is the second consecutive year gunfire has erupted at Market Square during Fiesta de Los Reyes.

A man was shot in the chest last year after what police believed was an altercation.

La Familia Cortez — owners of Mi Tierra Cafe & Bakery and La Margarita in Market Square — commented on this year's shooting in a social media post.

“From our perspective as Downtown and Market Square stakeholders, we believe major changes need to be made going forward to help prevent this type of incident from happening again.”

SAPD said it supplies officers to staff the security throughout Fiesta events.

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