San Antonio Mourns Police Officer's Death
Nine-year-old Alicia de Hoyos carries a small bouquet to the growing makeshift memorial outside of San Antonio’s Police headquarters Monday, just down the street from where Detective Benjamin Marconi was shot and killed in a patrol car.
“I felt that I needed to show some respect for this officer who protected us, and I feel that he didn’t have to die this way,” Alicia says, motioning to her 4-year-old counterpart, Yesenia.
“She came with me because she’s my little sister, and me and her like to show respect for anyone who protects us even if we don’t know them,” Alicia says. “They protected us even though they don’t know us.”
On Monday, the memorial was decorated with flowers, candles, flags and thank-you notes. University of Texas at San Antonio student Sean Gillin and his parents visiting from Arlington stopped to pray and pay respects.
“We’re horrified,” says Gillin. “I’m going to be a police officer in a couple of years and I’m just thinking that could be me. I’m not discouraged at all, but this is a hard time for law enforcement and the people we’re trying to protect and care for.”
The fallen Detective Benjamin Marconi was 50 years old, and a 20-year veteran of the force who worked in the department’s Special Victims Unit. Marconi has two adult children. The Marconi family thanked San Antonians for their support in a statement released by SAPD Monday.
“The Marconi Family would like to give thanks from the bottom of our hearts for the outpouring of support, prayers, and love we have received,” the statement reads. “At this time, we would appreciate privacy to mourn the loss of a wonderful father, brother, grandfather, friend, and last but not least, a Peace Officer.”
A few months ago, San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor put together a task force to discuss police community relations. Black community activist Johnathan Jones is part of that group, and was disturbed and saddened to hear of Marconi’s death.
“How I found the news actually was a flood of text messages telling me to be careful, because an officer was killed and a lot of people might respond with the whole 'Blue Lives Matter' rhetoric,” Jones says.
Jones fears the killing will make the difficult conversation he and others in the Mayor’s group are trying to have even harder.
“As I told them at the first meeting, I want to have the uncomfortable, honest conversations,” says Jones. “The uncomfortable part of conversation is going to the root, and that’s what a lot people avoid doing when we talk about these issues. We can’t try to point fingers at somebody for responding in violence to an act of violence.”
SAPD Chief McManus told reporters Monday he believed Marconi was killed because he was a police officer. SAPD arrested suspect Otis McKane, 31, and took him into custody Monday evening.
The Marconi family has said in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to:
- The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center ttp://southtexasblood.org/give-now
- Lifesharing Community Organ and Tissue Donation https://www.lifesharing.org
- Battered Women’s & Children Shelter of San Antonio fvps.org
- Haven for Hope https://www.havenforhope.org/donate/DonateForm.aspx
- The 100 Club of San Antonio www.100clubsa.org
A memorial account has also been set up for Detective Benjamin Marconi at Generations Federal Credit Union. Those who wish to contribute can visit any Generations FCU branch to donate or give online at: https://www.mygenfcu.org/MarconiMemorial/