San Antonio officer who killed 13-year-old boy also fatally shot a man last year

The San Antonio police officer who shot and killed a 13-year-old boy earlier this month also fatally shot a man last year, according to a new report from NBC News. The sister of the man who was shot last year tells the station she’s been fighting to get the officer off the police force for several months.

Debra Montez Felder says her brother John Pena Montez, 57, was killed by officer Stephen Ramos in March 2021. Ramos is the same officer who killed Andre “AJ” Hernandez Jr. after he allegedly reversed and T-boned a patrol car occupied by an officer on June 3. Police say Andre was driving a vehicle reported as stolen and that he rammed into the police car. 

Attorney Lee Merritt, who’s representing Andre’s family, says he’s seen police videos of the incident that contradict the narrative put forth by officers.

Rather than reversing into a patrol car, Merritt says Andre reversed into a residential driveway. As two police cars approached the driveway, the teen began slowly driving forward, eventually making contact with one of the cars, Merritt says. 

“The car was not traveling more than 2 to 5 miles per hour,” he says. “There was no ramming or crash, it was a bump. In less than a second, you hear a gunshot.”

In the 2021 case, Felder also claims the story the police told of her brother’s death did not match the body cam footage she saw.

Police tell NBC News that Ramos shot and killed Montez after he threatened his estranged wife with a knife. According to police, officers told him repeatedly to drop the knife, but he did not listen.

After another officer on the scene unsuccessfully attempted to deploy a Taser on him, Montez swung a knife at him, prompting Ramos to fire his gun, police say. 

Felder says the footage showed her brother just standing there at the door, adding “there was no reason” for the officer to shoot him. In the video she viewed, Felder also says Ramos appeared to her to be “loud, belligerent, and disrespectful.”

Montez, a veteran, had a history of mental illness and was in the middle of a “mental health crisis” when he picked up a kitchen knife. Felder says Montez’s wife, who was separated from him at the time, called a hospital as well as police because she was more worried he would hurt himself. 

Like with the Andre case, SAPD has not released the boy cam footage of the shooting. The department says it does not release police bodycam videos when “domestic violence is involved or suspected” unless the department’s chief, currently Bill McManus, “determines it serves a law enforcement purpose.”

Since the shooting, Felder has remained in touch with the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office over the past year, pushing them for more information about the internal investigation into her brother’s death. The district attorney’s office told NBC it has been in contact with Montez’s next of kin and family members on numerous occasions since April of 2021 to review video evidence and to discuss the incident.

“SAPD and the DA’s office were on notice that this guy was a hothead, trigger-happy,” Felder says. “You were aware of it even before the killing of this 13-year-old kid.”

The police department confirmed that Ramos killed both Montez and Andre. Ramos was placed on paid administrative leave and underwent an internal investigation in the earlier case. However, SAPD found that the shooting was justified and Ramos returned to duty.

Police say Ramos has been with the department for three years and is currently on paid administrative duty. SAPD has not released the body camera footage of the shooting publicly, saying it is prohibited by law from doing so because of Andre’s age.

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