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Bexar County Sheriff: Video Clearly Shows Suspect Had Hands Up Prior To Police Shooting

Ryan Poppe
Texas Public Radio
Bexar County Sheriff Susan Pamerleau


After reviewing footage of a man shot to death by Bexar Country sheriff deputies, Bexar County Sheriff Susan Pamerleau says it’s hard to dispute the man’s hands were in the air when he was shot.  


When Sheriff’s deputies arrived at Gilbert Flores’ home, based on his behavior, officers believed Flores had intended to have deputies shoot him, as indicated by 911 audio between dispatchers and emergency responders:


Bexar County Dispatcher:  “Yeah that is affirmative, he’s threatening suicide by cop, so make sure you stand down.”


Sheriff Pamerleau says it isn’t as clear from a first homeowner’s video that Flores was shot while he was complying with Deputies Greg Vasquez and Robert Sanchez’s directives. But she says a second homeowner’s video clearly shows Flores with his hands in the air before being shot to death.


“The video isn’t necessarily closer. It’s from a different angle and that video causes us concern,” Pamerleau explained.


Pamerleau says the Bexar County Sheriff’s Department has handed that footage over to the state’s crime lab to enhance and enlarge what she believes is a knife in Flores’ hand as he is complying with officers.


“It appears that he has something in his hand and that’s why we’ve asked the DPS crime lab to review it with an aim to try to enlarge and slow down that sequence so that we have a better idea of [what's happening in the video],” Pamerleau said.


The lawyer for Gilbert Flores’ family says none of the events that brought the deputies to the man's home should have resulted in his death.

Attorney Thomas J. Henry said Wednesday that domestic disturbance complaints that brought Bexar County deputies to the San Antonio-area home "should not have precipitated him being shot in the yard."

Authorities have said efforts to subdue Flores were unsuccessful, including the use of a stun gun.

Henry declined to say whether Flores was armed, arguing that the central question is whether the confrontation was escalating or de-escalating when Flores was shot. 

Upon completion of their investigation, Pamerleau says the Sheriff’s office will hand over its investigation to the Bexar County District Attorney for review. 

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.