‘It’s not right’ | Family gathers at gravesite one year after Melissa Perez was killed by SAPD officers

The three now-former officers were taken into custody on June 23, the same day they fatally shot the 46-year-old.

SAN ANTONIO — It has been one year since Melissa Perez was shot and killed. Three San Antonio police officers are charged in connection with her death.

Her family said the 46-year-old was suffering a schizophrenic episode on June 23, 2023. Around 2 a.m., firefighters got a call about Perez tinkering with the fire alarm at her apartment complex.

The family claimed she was in the midst of a schizophrenic episode and believed the FBI was using the fire alarm equipment to spy on her.

At one point, investigators said Perez barricaded herself inside her apartment and threw a hammer at her window. Three now-former SAPD officers are seen on body camera video jumping onto her patio and shooting at her, hitting her twice.

“This time last year I was the headquarters, and I was watching the raw of that body cam footage,” her daughter, Alexis Tovar said.

Tovar said she was disgusted when she realized what had happened to her mother. She said she had been struggling with her mental health for the past three years. She said she would call the police to do welfare checks on her time to time. She never thought one day they would be accused of killing her mom.

“I have a daughter now so like having my daughter and hugging my daughter just makes me like emotional because I wish I could hug my mom,” Tovar said.

The three now-former officers: 28-year-old Eleazar Alejandro, 27-year-old Nathaniel Villalobos and 45-year-old Alfred Flores, a sergeant – were taken into custody on June 23, the same day they fatally shot the 46-year-old.

Flores and Alejandro would eventually be indicted for murder. Villalobos was indicted with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Police Chief William McManus previously said in a press conference following the shooting 2023, “they put themselves in a situation where they used deadly force which was not reasonable.”

Tovar was pleased with the swift action taken by SAPD and the District Attorney last year but said it does not take away the grief she has felt this past year. She wants the three convicted with maximum penalties.

Perez left behind four children, three young sons and Tovar. 

“It’s not right, it’s infuriating and heartbreaking and I’m in therapy weekly, my brother is in therapy weekly because of that trauma,” Tovar said.

The family took legal action themselves by filing a wrongful-death lawsuit against the three former officers. But Tovar said if anything, she hopes this tragedy results in real change within policing when it comes to responding to mental health calls.

“It’s heavy every day,” Tovar said. “I think for the rest of my life, my heart is going to wake up heavy.”

Flores, Alejandro and Villalobos are out on bond. Their next hearing is Thursday, June 27. They are being tried together.


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