SAN ANTONIO, Sept. 1 (UPI) — The release Monday of an unedited video showing officers fatally shooting a 41-year-old domestic violence suspect with his hands apparently raised has called into question whether the shooting was justified.
Gilbert Flores, 41, was shot dead outside of his San Antonio home on Friday by Bexar County sheriff deputies Greg Vasquez and Robert Sanchez.
The graphic video of the shooting was released by KSAT 12 News on Sunday. The video appears to show Flores raising his hands above his head while standing several feet in front of Vasquez and Sanchez before he was shot.
The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s office have launched an investigation into the incident. The deputies were on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
The sheriff’s office originally said Flores was armed and resisted arrest. Police said deputies unsuccessfully used non-lethal weapons to subdue Flores before shooting.
Flores, whose criminal record includes a 2003 aggravated robbery charge and a 1999 criminal trespass charge, died soon after he was shot.
“They just shot that [explicit], bro,” Michael Thomas, who filmed the incident and provided the recording to KSAT 12, said after the shooting. “Bro, they just cold-blooded shot that [explicit].”
“That fool dead,” Thomas added.
The sheriff’s office said a woman and baby were found at the home, both with injuries. The woman had a cut to her head.
“Definitely, the video is troubling,” District Attorney Nicholas LaHood said after viewing the recordings. “There’s actually another video with a better view that is very close. That is a portion of the investigation that I am not at liberty to speak about. There’s a lot of information before, including 911 calls and information from different witnesses inside the house.”
The second video LaHood mentioned has not been made public.
“This is a very unique situation where we actually have the shooting on video,” LaHood added. “That gives us a whole different perspective that we’ve never had before.”
Bexar County Sheriff’s Office criticized KSAT 12 for airing the video on a Facebook post, urging people to call the station — while providing the station’s number — to “let the local media know this sort of sensational behavior doesn’t fly in Bexar County.”
“KSAT 12 paid a neighbor who filmed the tragedy $100 for the exclusive rights to the video,” Bexar County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. “As a result, people from outside our community have bombarded us with inappropriate comments, and today, physical threats toward our deputies.”
“These deputies have not been charged with a crime and a family lost their loved one,” the sheriff’s office added. “This is unethical and sad.”