SAN ANTONIO - For the third time in the last month, San Antonio Police Officers found themselves in a raging gun battle.
It happened around one a.m. Friday on West Woodlawn, when police tried to question a man who had been driving erratically.
Police say 19-year-old Juan Manuel Rogelio-Gonzalez got out of his car with a gun and started shooting at three officers.
Those officers weren't hit, but they returned fire, striking the man a number of times.
Rogelio-Gonzalez is listed in critical at University Hospital and he has been charged by proxy with Attempted Capital Murder of the three officers and Evading Arrest.
Many San Antonians are reeling over these violent attacks, expressing disbelief these gun fights are happening here, in a community known mostly for peace.
At the Yanaguana Gardens splash pad at Hemisfair Park, parents keeping a watchful eye on their children at play expressed gratitude for the officers who continue to put themselves at risk for others.
As she watched her children cool off in the refreshing fountains, Hannah Garcia said. “I'm very thankful for all the police officers, men, and women that come out here and serve and protect us.”
Mom Sarah Perales agreed.
“We really appreciate the work and you putting your life on the line,” Perales said, sending a message to the law enforcement community.
Grandfather Hector Uribe brought his extended family to the park and he said he finds the recent outbreak of unprovoked violence shocking.
“I don't agree with it and I think these are some idiotic imbeciles,” Uribe said.
Uribe said it is hard for him to believe repeated episodes of gun attacks on police here.
“I do not believe it. The police force is here to help us and protect us and what's happening to these young men and women is a shame,” Uribe said.
Bicycle rider Eddie Clark called the current situation senseless, and not typical of the San Antonio he has called home for many years.
“I don't know what this world's coming to. I really don't. I mean with bullets flying by and you don’t know who it’s going to hit, that’s crazy,” Clark said.
At Brackenridge Park, Charity Fox and her family were waiting for the train.
“I've been here my whole life and the level of violence has definitely increased over the years.”
Fox said it is a frightening time to wear a badge," Fox said. "I can imagine for all of them, it's really scary not knowing what they're going to face every day."
Barbara Bailey brought her grandson Caleb Sanchez to ride the train. She said she believes San Antonio is bigger than the current events.
“We moved here two years ago because we heard what a great city San Antonio was to retire in. We have friends that are police officers and we totally support the military, the police and the firemen that put their lives on the line for us every day,” Bailey said.
Shoppers out at midday downtown expressed similar concerns.
“Frankly, I think it's awful because I think our police force is here to serve and protect us and we should honor and respect that first and foremost, and shouldn't be concerned or scared that lives are in danger,” Jason Dumo said.
Mary Betancourt had three teenage children in tow and she said she thinks education is the key.
“I think the police do a good job being at our community events and I think that's it. The more exposure they get to people in a normal, non-confrontational positions, then people relax and it will go back to the policeman is my friend and I can go to the policeman, everything's fine,” Betancourt said.
Three friends getting ready to head out on an afternoon river adventure talked about possible solutions.
“I guess a solution would be better background checks and mental health checks, like make sure you know who is buying these weapons,” Dillon Aguirre said.
“It's very unfortunate but it does happen and we need to try our best to unify as a city and unify as a community to try and fix those issues because it's a huge problem,” Adam Peche’ said.
“Just stop shooting at cops people. Stop shooting at people. Honestly, just live in peace," Dylan Gloria said.
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