Two deputies involved in the August shooting death of a Texas man will return to work after a grand jury declined to charge them, officials in Bexar County announced Wednesday.
Robert Sanchez and Greg Vasquez responded August 28 to Gilbert Flores’ home in San Antonio and a cell phone video of the fatal shooting caused the case to get national media attention. In it, it appeared at least one of Flores’ arms was in the air.
But Bexar County District Attorney Nicholas LaHood said at the time there was another video, which has yet to be released publicly, that showed the shooting from another angle. Police said Flores was armed with a knife.
LaHood’s office declined to comment on the grand jury’s decision, but Sheriff Susan Pamerleau told reporters the second video showed a knife in Flores’ left hand, which had been obscured in the first recording.
“If not for Mr. Flores’ actions, this would not have happened,” she said.
The videos, 911 calls and investigative reports will be released to the media in the next few days.
The shooting came at a time when law enforcement officers were under scrutiny for how and when they resort to lethal force. The killings of several individuals by police over the past year have heightened tensions with the communities they serve, especially among minorities.
Sanchez and Vasquez have been with the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office for more than 10 years and were on administrative leave. There is no timetable for their return, Pamerleau said.
Authorities said in September that the two deputies had tried to arrest Flores’ after responding to a domestic dispute call. The sheriff said then that deputies first tried Tasers and had to use shields to ward off Flores’ knife.
She said both deputies fired shots after a “lengthy confrontation.”
According to CNN affiliate KSAT, which released the first video on its website, the Flores family is suing the deputies, the county and the sheriff’s office. The lawsuit contends Flores has his hands in the air and even if he had a knife, he had shown by putting his arms up that he was no danger to the lawmen.
The FBI also investigated the case to see if Flores’ civil rights were violated and recently submitted a report to the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Western District of Texas, Pamerleau said. CNN has not been able to get comment from the U.S. Attorneys Office.