(TX) Shootout leaves man dead, 4 S.A. officers injured


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Drizzt
January 3, 2003, 01:35 PM
UPDATED: Shootout leaves man dead, 4 S.A. officers injured

By Sonja Garza, Elaine Aradillias and Jesse Bogan
Express-News Staff Writers

Web Posted : 01/03/2003 12:15 PM

A San Antonio police officer was still in surgery late this morning after he killed the man responsible for a gunbattle early today at a Northeast Side restaurant that involved three other police officers.

Police Officer Michael Muñiz, 22, was being treated at Brooke Army Medical Center for four gunshot wounds suffered in the battle with the man, who died on top of Muñiz after wounding at least two other officers and seriously injuring a third.

Police Officer David Evans, 51, who also participated in the gunbattle, which began shortly after 3:30 a.m. at the Denny’s restaurant at Perrin Beitel Road and Loop 410, was released from surgery at BAMC shortly after 11 a.m.

Evans, who lost a portion of his colon in the surgery, suffered gunshot wounds to an arm, his chest and abdomen. He is still listed in critical condition and is on a ventilator.

San Antonio Police Chief Albert Ortiz said the man, who had been released after serving only seven years of a 12-year sentence for an attempted murder conviction in 1995, had commandeered the vehicle of his 20-year-old girlfriend and used a shotgun in forcing her to go to the Denny’s to confront a man he had seen her with.

Ortiz, speaking at a news conference this morning at Police Department headquarters, was encouraged by reports coming from BAMC and University Hospital, where the other two officers, Detective John Bocko and Officer Nathan Patrick Murray were being treated.

“The news since they got to the hospital has been very good,” Ortiz said at a news conference this morning at the Police Department’s headquarters. “Evans, miraculously, is coming back very strongly,” Ortiz said. Evans and Bocko were the first to respond to a domestic dispute at the restaurant.

The officers were responding to a couple fighting at the restaurant, police spokesman Gabe Trevino said.

Ortiz said the situation appeared to have been settled in a routine manner when the man, who remains unidentified, attacked Bocko.

“He was going to walk away when he just whirled and cold-cocked Officer, Detective Bocco,” Ortiz said, who added that the man may have attacked the detective when the 20-year-old girlfriend told police that the man may have a gun.

In the attack on Bocko, the man grabbed the detective’s gun. He then turned on Evans.

At that point, the shootout moved to the parking lot, where the man confronted Muñiz and Murray, who were both shot in the neck.

Ortiz said witnesses described Muñiz, who also suffered three other wounds, standing “toe to toe” against the shooter.

“Officer Muñiz, it would have been understandable if he had backed off and waited,” Ortiz said. “But he didn’t.”


http://news.mysanantonio.com/story.cfm?xla=saen&xlb=310&xlc=910992&xld=310

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PATH
January 3, 2003, 01:52 PM
That officer is the definition of courage. My prayers go out to all the officers and their families.

islander-11
January 3, 2003, 02:48 PM
My prayers to the officers.

Another report I read said something about one of the officers not having a vest on. It's hard to imagine how anyone could do that job without one.

TallPine
January 3, 2003, 03:31 PM
the man, who had been released after serving only seven years of a 12-year sentence for an attempted murder conviction in 1995

Score another one for the system. Probably let him out to make room for some pot smoking kid.

TheeBadOne
January 3, 2003, 03:35 PM
TX needs to flip the switch more....

ahenry
January 3, 2003, 03:40 PM
Absolutely. However, Ol’ Sparky has been put to pasture and we now use lethal injections. Personally, I’d prefer public shootings or hangings.


My thoughts and prayers with the officers. Know some S.A. cops, glad it wasn't one of them.

Blackhawk
January 3, 2003, 03:57 PM
There's another thread running on this, but I suspect it was posted later. Nobody beats Drizzt to the news!

As I said on it, the SAPD needs some remedial training on gun control, as in how its officers need to KNOW how to keep control of THEIR guns!

Nobody should have been injured from the PD in dispatching this perp!

El Tejon
January 3, 2003, 04:01 PM
Domestics are always the worst.:(

ahenry
January 3, 2003, 04:15 PM
As I said on it, the SAPD needs some remedial training on gun control, as in how its officers need to KNOW how to keep control of THEIR guns! Sounds too me like it is very possible the officer whose gun was taken was cold cocked. Perhaps he could have remained a tad more alert, but even the most alert of all people can be surprised. If he was sort of woozy its a little hard to keep somebody from taking your gun. I have no idea if that’s how events played out, but then again neither do you...

Blackhawk
January 3, 2003, 05:33 PM
ahenry,

True, but part of keeping your gun is staying conscious.

Why did Bocko let himself get in a positon to get cold cocked without seeing it coming so he could react?

About all that gets to see my back are chairs....

I'm not criticizing the LEOs. I'm just saying they need some retraining, and THAT is undeniably clear from the account.

ahenry
January 4, 2003, 01:44 AM
I certainly agree with the overall sentiment you’re expressing, just not sure the point applies in this specific case. Howsomever, I know it would never hurt an officer to pay more attention to a situation, and the more training the better. I've certainly never considered rank and file police officers to be over-trained.

Drizzt
January 4, 2003, 02:47 AM
UPDATED: 2 officers in critical condition after shootout early today

San Antonio Express-News

Web Posted : 01/03/2003 5:00 PM

Two San Antonio police officers are still in critical condition after a gunfight early today with an ex-convict at a Northeast Side restaurant that also left two other officers seriously injured.

Authorities identified the shooter as Jamie Lichtenwalter, 26, of San Antonio. Police chief Albert Ortiz described the shooter as having “arms as thick as tree trunks.”

Police Officer Michael Muñiz, 22, came out of surgery early this afternoon at Brooke Army Medical Center after suffering four gunshot wounds in the battle with the man, identified by a state prison official as Jamie Lichtenwalter, 26. Muñiz was listed in critical condition.

The gunbattle ended when a shot by Muñiz killed Lichtenwalter, who fell on top of the officer in the parking lot of the Denny’s restaurant at Perrin Beitel Road and Loop 410.

Police Officer David Evans, 51, also underwent surgery at BAMC.

Evans, who lost a portion of his colon in the surgery, suffered gunshot wounds to an arm, his chest and abdomen. He also is listed in critical condition.

Also injured in the gunfight were San Antonio police Detective John Bocko, 34, and Police Officer Nathan Patrick Murray, 33. They were both treated at University Hospital and were in stable condition.

San Antonio Police Chief Albert Ortiz, who never gave the man’s name during a news conference this morning at Police Department headquarters, said the shooter had been released from prison after serving seven years of a 12-year sentence for a 1995 conviction on a charge of attempted murder.

Larry Fitzgerald, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, identified Lichtenwalter as the shooter.

Early today, Lichtenwalter commandeered the vehicle of his 20-year-old girlfriend and used a shotgun to force her to go to the restaurant to confront a man he had seen her with. When they got to the restaurant, Lichtenwalter left the shotgun in the vehicle.

As they entered the restaurant, the woman asked the manager to get police.

Evans and Bocko were the first to respond to the dispute.

Ortiz said the situation appeared to have been settled in a routine manner when Lichtenwalter, whom the chief described as having “arms as thick as tree trunks,” attacked Bocko.

“He was going to walk away when he just whirled and cold-cocked Officer, Detective Bocko,” Ortiz said, who added that Lichtenwalter may have attacked the detective when the woman told police that her boyfriend may have a gun.

In the attack on Bocko, Lichtenwalter grabbed the detective’s gun. He then turned on Evans and shot him several times. Lichtenwalter then shot at Bocko, who had been staggered by his blows. Bocko may have suffered a graze wound.

At that point, the shootout moved to the parking lot, where Lichtenwalter confronted Muñiz and Murray. Armed with Bocko and Evans’ guns, he shot Murray in the neck, the bullet shattering the officer’s jaw. Muñiz also was shot, and his wounds included shots to the neck and leg.

Ortiz said witnesses described Muñiz as standing “toe to toe” against the shooter, sometimes engaging in hand-to-hand combat.

“Officer Muñiz, it would have been understandable if he had backed off and waited,” Ortiz said. “But he didn’t.”

After Lichtenwalter collapsed on top of Muñiz, the officer was so spent from the battle that others had to pull the dead man off of him.

“He was so helpless, he wasn’t able to move the suspect off him,” Ortiz said.

The police chief said 10 to 12 other people were in the restaurant when the shooting began, but nobody else was injured.

Police Sgt. Andy Hernandez, who was inside the restaurant after the shooting, described it as “a violent scene,” adding that a lot of rounds had been fired.

He added that it was “a situation an officer doesn’t want to be in.”

Ortiz described domestic disputes as “the most stressful and the most dangerous.”

“You never know when that explosion is going to occur,” Ortiz said.

The police chief said Lichtenwalter was released from prison in July 2001 and had been living with his parents in the Foster Road area of Northeast Bexar County. In March, Lichtenwalter and the woman began their relationship.

Lichtenwalter was tried as an adult in a 1992 Universal City drive-by shooting committed when he was 16. The shooting left another teenager brain damaged and paralyzed.

Responding to a question about whether Lichtenwalter had been using drugs, Ortiz said an autopsy will be performed this afternoon and results should be available in a few weeks.

Ortiz, who spoke today with the wounded officers’ relatives, said he was struck by their ability to deal with the shootings, saying it gave support to members of the force.

“It’s just outstanding to see how strong those families are,” the police chief said.

BAMC spokeswoman Norma Guerra was struck by the outpouring of support from law enforcement and the community.

“There's a lot of people up there,” Guerra said. “It's a sea of blue.”

Mayor Ed Garza also visited BAMC today.

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