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Police Chief Calls for Accountability After Repeat Offender Shoots Two Officers

SAN ANTONIO – As we continue our coverage on the man charged with shooting and wounding two San Antonio police officers, we are asking questions about his past. We’re also asking authorities why he was allowed to be out on the streets despite a lengthy criminal history that included several arrests.

This is just some of the accountability we’re working to get regarding Thursday’s rampage that ended with two police officers in area hospitals. It started earlier Friday with SAPD Chief William McManus sending this on X

“The susp was out on 2 bonds for almost a yr despite committing more crimes & being re-arrested & wanted on 3 diff warrants. Why wasn’t he in jail?”

“I’m not pointing fingers here at anybody. I’m just asking the question, ‘Why?’” said Chief McManus.

McManus says repeat offender and violent criminal Jesse Garcia should have never been out of jail.

“We have an individual who’s out on two bonds. There’s three active warrants out for him. Dangerous, dangerous man,” said McManus. “The officers were following this individual from 60 yards back and he opened up on them with an AR — and shot one of our officers in the eye.”

Out of frustration for what happened to his officers and the danger repeat violent criminals pose to our community, he sent this on X

“Why wasn’t he in jail? Why weren’t his bonds increased? People want to know.”

We took those same questions to the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office. Christian Henricksen, the first assistant at the DA’s office, says they can recommend a bond amount to a judge, but ultimately the judge sets the bond amount based on multiple factors such as criminal history and the level of offense charged.

“There’s nothing we could have done that would have changed this situation,” said Hendricksen. “We all are frustrated. As long as we have this system, and people have money or a bondsman who’s willing to bond them out, then they’re going to get out.”

Former Bexar County District Attorney Nico LaHood says the accountability ultimately lays on the magistrate judge, however

“Any history that this suspect had that would have alarmed a magistrate that he was this level of dangerous,” explained LaHood. “However, a magistrate judge, or an assistant DA, or a public defender are not fortune tellers. They cannot tell what someone is going to do, especially if it’s outside their past behavior that they do know about.”

As for the chief, he says his police officers can only do so much when these types of criminals are let out of jail and back into our community.

“I don’t regret tweeting it. The attention to it needs to be raised,” said Chief McManus.

We’re told the two officers remain hospitalized. Chief McManus says one was shot six times, the other was shot in the eye.

Jesse Garcia’s past charges stem back to 2019 and vary from possession of a firearm to unauthorized use of a vehicle. He had two charges this year. The warrants for his arrest that the police had on the gunman include burglary of vehicles and evading arrest.

Could the district attorney’s office or the judge have done something to keep Jesse Garcia off the street? District Attorney Joe Gonzales would not make himself available.

Jesse Garcia actually went to prison in 2019 for felony possession of a firearm. Then he was arrested last year on two more charges, drug possession and unauthorized use of a vehicle. Garcia bailed out of jail, and 11 months later he still hasn’t been indicted on those two charges. Meanwhile in February of this year, he got arrested again on a burglary of vehicles charge and was bailed out. Then in June, another arrest for felony possession of a firearm and evading arrest, and you guessed it, he made bail.

So why didn’t the district attorney’s office recommend that the judge hold him without bail?

“Because the judge. This is generally not something judges can do. There’s very limited circumstances in which a judge can remand somebody without bail,” said Henricksen.

The DA’s office says bail can be withheld only in rare cases such as some capital murder and family violence cases.

So looking back, what more could have been done?

“There’s nothing that we could have done that would have changed the situation. Ultimately the judges set the bond, not us,” said Henricksen.

We went to the 437th District Court where Garcia was granted bail most recently and spoke to Judge Joel Perez, who would not comment because the case is pending. His office said Judge Perez doubled Garcia’s bond amount for the June charges, but a warrant did not go out for his arrest until this month.

“The only thing we could have possibly done was have moved on that a little bit more quickly, but would have just gotten the warrant out a couple of weeks earlier,” said Henricksen.

Source : WOAI