Video Shows Gilbert Flores Raised His Hands Before He Was Fatally Shot

September 1st 2015

Kyle Jaeger

Gilbert Flores, a 41-year-old man who was fatally shot by two sheriff's deputies in San Antonio, Texas, last week, appeared to have his arms raised when the officers opened fire.

In a video released by a local television station, KSAT12, Flores is seen running shirtless through a residential area, stopping in front of a one-story house. Moments after he put his hands up, two shots were fired from a short distance.

Flores was taken by helicopter to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Authorities at the Bexar County Sheriff's department said that the deputies involved in the shooting, identified as Greg Vasquez and Robert Sanchez, were responding to a domestic violence call. When they arrived at the home where the emergency call was placed, a woman and a child were found with minor injuries, according to CNN.

Both deputies have been in the department for more than 10 years and reported firing shots after they allegedly attempted to subdue Flores with nonlethal force (stun guns and shields) Flores continued to resist arrest.

Following the fatal shooting, the deputies were placed on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation, Sheriff Susan Pamerleau said.

"Certainly, what’s in the video is a cause for concern," Pamerleau stated at a press conference on Friday. "But it's important to let the investigation go through its course so that we can ensure a thorough and complete review of all that occurred of the evidence and the actions of the officers."

A second video of the shooting, along with several other pieces of evidence, are currently being considered as part of the department's investigation, she said, adding that it was important "to make sure that we don’t rush to judgment on any part of this."

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff told the New York Times that the video is " very shocking and looks very bad."

"I've been in this position for 14 years, and I’ve never seen anything like it," he said, adding that he will look into the department's use-of-force policy to determine whether or not any changes need to be made. The District Attorney's office is conducting its own independent investigation into the incident.

When KSAT12 originally published the video on Friday, they cut the recording off just before the shooting. But on Monday, the news organization released the full, four-minute video. "Now that there is an ongoing investigation by both agencies, and following additional discussions within our newsroom, KSAT12 News has decided to make the entire video available online," newsroom managers said.

Michael Thomas, a student at the University of Incarnate Word who provided KSAT12 with the video, said that he chose to record the encounter on his cell phone in light of recent reports of police-involved shootings across the country.

"I was watching, I was kind of wondering what was going on, but I couldn’t figure it out," he told The Times. "Just the things that’s been going on in the world, like different types of shootings, cops and different things like that. So I was like, well maybe I can catch something on my camera."

What he caught was a scene that raises serious questions, specifically concerning the deputies' justification for shooting. The issue will be taken up on Tuesday evening at a meeting of the Commissioners Court, one of the county's main governing bodies.