Neighbor records moments of terror as bullets rip through apartment complex

SAN ANTONIO — The video is chaotic but the audio on the cell phone clip paints a vivid picture of the terrifying ordeal some west-side apartment residents endured overnight.

A woman can be heard in a panic as rapid fire gunshots rang out just before 2 a.m.

The woman who shot the video didn’t want to be identified, but she said she heard an initial volley of about four shots.

“I got up and I told my daughters I think the neighbor is at it again,” the woman said, explaining that a man who lives in a nearby unit at the Timbercreek Apartments near Military Drive West is known for carrying weapons and firing random shots.

The woman said they don’t hear shots every day but “he usually fires a couple of times and that’s it, like once a week or every two weeks.”

When the woman and her husband heard another burst with about ten shots, they tried to shelter in place.

“We got off the bed. Got in a corner,” the woman said. “It was very scary for us because I’ve never been through a situation like that, very close to me and my family. I can’t describe it. I’m still kind of shaken up by it.”  

The neighbor said many people who live in the complex have been on edge since the man with multiple weapons moved in a couple of months ago.

“My husband saw him with a couple of guns in his waistband and some other people called the cops on him,” the woman said. “They took him in because he had a handgun and they went into his house and said he has more weapons in the house.”

The woman said officers told them they couldn’t do anything because the guns were legally registered to the man and they didn’t witness illegal activity.

Early Tuesday, that changed dramatically, as Police Chief William McManus said the first officer called to the complex for a disturbance with a gun came under fire.

“When officers arrived, their vehicle was struck by gunfire. They retreated. Called SWAT. SWAT set up,” McManus said. “He had been firing many, many, many rounds in his apartment. Into the walls. And then outside of his apartment. I’m talking about a lot of rounds!”

McManus said the random rifle shots pierced the walls of a number of nearby apartments, as members of their street crimes team worked to evacuate residents who were in a live fire zone.

“I don’t know what the issue was but he was shooting round after round after round into walls,” McManus said. Adding that residents “heard rounds and experienced rounds coming into their apartments, shooting multiple bullet holes  in many of the walls. We’re fortunate no one else was injured.”

Neighbors said when SWAT team members arrived, they heard them calling the man by name on a loud speaker, telling him to surrender, but their pleas went unanswered for more than one hour.

In a tightly packed apartment complex, McManus said the man was given time to give up, but the threat remained too great to ignore.

“At some point thereafter, as he was shooting over the fence at the back of his apartment, SWAT was able to neutralize him. He was transported to the hospital,” McManus said.

The gunman sustained a graze wound to the head and McManus said he believed the man would recover.

“He walked out of the apartment so I don’t know that his wound was that serious. He walked out and he was transported to the hospital and that’s what we have right now,” McManus said. 

Police have not released the name of the suspect, his charges or his bond amount.

Police calls for service indicate they did receive a few calls for disturbances involving a man with a gun in recent weeks, but they say by the time officers arrived, the man was gone.

Neighbors said they are concerned the man will return because they have seen it happen before.

“The last time he went to jail he came back the same day. He went in maybe about 9 or 10 o’clock and he was back around five or six in the morning,” the neighbor said.  

“My concern is him coming back in that state of mind. I think he needs a little bit more help. It was like wow when it happened.  I don’t know what triggered it,” the woman added.

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