Three San Antonio police officers suspended for roles in deadly shooting last September

click to enlarge SAPD handed down the suspensions in March. - Shutterstock
SAPD handed down the suspensions in March.
SAPD has suspended three officers for their roles in a deadly police shooting that occurred in September, KSAT reports.

One of the officers was punished for trying to negotiate with an armed suspect even though he had no formal training, the TV station reports, citing suspension records. The other two faced discipline for failing to properly assess the situation, accord to those documents.

The department handed down the suspensions in March, and KSAT obtained the records months after initially requesting them, according to its report. SAPD offered no explanation why it took so long to provide the records.

The disciplinary actions stem from a September 22, 2020 shooting that occurred after police were called to an apartment complex on the 5600 block of Culebra Road to investigate a possible burglary.

Officers heard a gunshot and tracked it to an apartment where Victor Sanchez, 44, had barricaded himself inside his bathroom, according to KSAT.

Internal investigators found that Officer Richard M. Cuellar “imprudently entered” the apartment against the advice of another officer, according to KSAT. He then tried to negotiate with the suspect despite a lack of formal training, the station reports.

Negotiations broke down, and police shot Sanchez multiple times after he allegedly aimed his gun at them, according to the TV station.

The other two officers, Sgt. Anastacio Hernandez and Capt. Jorge L. Suarez, received suspensions for allowing Cuellar to attempt negotiations and for letting an officer enter the apartment with a bean-bag firing shotgun, even though the suspect was armed, KSAT reports.

Cuellar initially received a 30-day suspension, but that was reduced to 22 days, the station reports, citing disciplinary records. Hernandez was suspended for 30 days and is appealing through arbitration, while Suarez, who was initially handed an indefinite suspension, agreed to a reduced 45-day suspension, according to the documents.

The Civil Rights Division of the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office is still investigating the shooting, a spokesperson for the office told KSAT.

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