Off-duty deputy praised for taking down gunman at Mayan 14 theater

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by Gary Cooper / KENS 5

kens5.com

Posted on December 18, 2012 at 8:55 AM

Updated Thursday, Dec 20 at 2:47 PM

The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office is calling one of their own a hero after deputies say she stopped what could have been a disastrous shooting inside a south-side movie theater lobby.

Jesus Garcia, 19, was at the Santikos Mayan Palace 14 at SW Military and I-35 on Sunday night. According to San Antonio police, he was upset over a recent breakup with his girlfriend.

According to both police and deputies, Garcia called into his girlfriend's work at The China Garden restaurant and said he was going to shoot somebody. The restaurant is located outside the theater.

At 9:30 p.m., Garcia walked in and chased all employees and patrons out of the restaurant before firing at an employee as he or she tried to flee, police said. It was not immediately known if the targeted employee was his girlfriend.

Garcia continued to chase the employee from the restaurant to the parking lot outside the theater, firing his weapon along the way.

San Antonio police said Garcia also took aim at an officer who pulled up in a marked cruiser. He missed the officer but shattered the officer's windshield.

The chase went into the lobby of the Mayan 14 Theater, where off-duty Sheriff's Sgt. Lisa Castellano immediately sprang into action.

The 13-year veteran quickly moved all patrons out of the lobby and into a secure location, deputies said. She then chased Garcia into the men's restroom, where she and another off-duty police officer cornered the suspect. Castellano then shot the suspect.

“The actions she took prevented a lot more people from getting hurt or even worse, killed.” said Deputy Chief Manuel Longoria of the Bexar County Sheriff's Office.

Garcia was taken to San Antonio Military Medical Center, where he underwent surgery on Monday. He was listed in critical condition.

He faces charges of attempted capital murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Investigators said there could be more charges once officers finish looking into all the details of what happened.

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