Cop Shoots At Suspected Truck Thief
By Eva Ruth Moravec - San Antonio Express News
September 15, 2009
An off-duty San Antonio police detective shot at a truck that was being
stolen outside a North Side hotel early Wednesday, the 16th
officer-involved shooting this year.
No one was reported injured and the thief was able to escape with the
silver Dodge pickup. However, police said they arrested an alleged
accomplice, who has since been released from custody.
Edward Paiz, 20, was freed Wednesday morning after posting bail on a
$5,000 bond on a theft of vehicle charge.
Meanwhile, police continued to search for the suspect who took the
truck, as well as investigate the shooting to determine if the detective
was justified in firing at it.
Detective Chinee Edwards, who was wearing his police uniform, fired two
shots as the truck reversed toward him in the parking lot of the Pear
Tree Inn in the 100 block of Northeast Loop 410. Despite his commands
for the driver to stop, authorities said the truck kept moving toward
the 58-year-old detective.
Few details of the shooting were released, such as where the bullets
struck or where Edwards was standing when the truck began to move.
However, authorities did make one thing clear Wednesday: Edwards feared
for his life.
The 24-year police veteran has been placed on administrative duty while
the department finalizes its investigation — a move that is standard
procedure when an officer is involved in a shooting.
Sgt. Chris Benavides, a Police Department spokesman, said Edwards feared
the truck was going to run him over.
While the Police Department's general manual prohibits officers, even
when off-duty, from discharging their weapons at a moving vehicle, they
may do so “as the ultimate measure of self-defense or defense of
According to Thomas Aveni, executive director of the New
Hampshire-based Police Policy Studies Council, the investigation should
focus on whether Edwards could get out of the truck's way.
“The heart of the issue is if the officer reasonably believes, based on
established case law, that the vehicle is being used as a weapon and
presents an imminent threat,” Aveni said.
Benavides said Edwards was hired part-time specifically to curb a rash
of burglaries and thefts of vehicles from hotels near the San Antonio
Around 1 a.m. Wednesday, Edwards was sitting in his personal car in the
hotel's parking lot, when he saw the two suspects park next to the
silver Dodge pickup, according to a police incident report.
Paiz's partner approached the truck and popped the lock, the report
states. That's when Edwards moved his car, parked it near the truck and
confronted the suspect, leading to shooting. After the suspect managed
to flee, Edwards turned to Paiz, who surrendered.
Police said items that Paiz had when he was arrested led officers to
believe the two men may have been involved in other robberies overnight.
Authorities have acknowledged the increase in officer-involved shootings
this year, which now account for six more than all of last year.
Benavides said officers are being forced into positions “to react based
on the suspects' behaviors.”
Aveni, who researches officer-involved shootings nationwide, said
that in general, preventative policing results in increased shootings.
“When agencies are involved in more proactive policing with the focus on
high crime and violent activities, you're going to see the use of force
going up,” he said.