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Deadly shooting caught on camera | Victim's family searching for justice

William Hawkins' brother said, "My brother was the type to take the T-shirt off his own back to give it to somebody."

SAN ANTONIO — The surveillance video is as clear as it is chilling.

One man approaches another at a downtown convenience store gas pump. 

Seconds later, one of them fires what turned out to be a fatal shot at the man who had approached him.

The man who died after taking a direct hit to his torso was a 35-year-old man well-known to everyone in the area at the corner of Elm and Nolan.

William Hawkins, who was said to be homeless by choice, was a regular at the Christian Assistance Ministry campus across the street.  It was a surveillance camera there that captured the scene.

Dawn White-Fosdick is the President and CEO of the non-profit.

"We heard a loud bang. It sounded like a gunshot," White-Fosdick said, adding, "About ten minutes later, we started seeing police arrive."

White-Fosdick said as soon as clients on the campus realized who had been shot, there were tears.

"We started to realize who it was and some of our other clients were crying. 'That's William!  That's William!'"

White-Fosdick said what happened after the shot was fired shocked everyone.

"We did see the shooter get back in his truck as if nothing had happened and drive off," adding the man had to avoid the body to leave. "He either stepped over or walked around him. Calmly. It looked very strange," White-Fosdick said.

Hawkins grew up in San Antonio and White-Fosdick said she is sure many people around town will remember him.

"He attended Hobby Middle School and Clark High School," White-Fosdick said, adding, "We knew him as a very polite and kind, easy-going and gentle client."

White-Fosdick said it's hard for her to believe anyone would find Hawkins threatening, so she found it surprising when San Antonio Police detained and then released the man accused of pulling the trigger.

"San Antonio Police are always very supportive of CAM, so I'm not blaming them, but I did feel that somebody needed to mention William's name and talk about him as a human being," White-Fosdick said.

At a time when large numbers of people are downtown and without housing, White-Fosdick said she is hoping this tragic death will lead to greater understanding and more compassion for those on the street.

"I don't want our San Antonio citizens to be so afraid of people experiencing homelessness that they think they need to shoot somebody," White-Fosdick said.

With regard to the investigation, San Antonio Police Public Affairs Manager Mariah Medina provided the following statement.

"Because this is an ongoing investigation, we are unable to provide additional information. SAPD has met with the Hawkins family and will continue to provide them with updates as the investigation continues."

While the surveillance image is fairly clear, it does not provide a complete account of what happened in the few seconds it took for things to turn tragic. There is no discernible audio of the fatal confrontation, and since Hawkins' back is to the camera, it's unknown if he had anything in his hands at the time.

Audio of San Antonio Police radio communications indicate a fast response, with officers arriving on scene just two minutes after the shooting was called in, and taking the gunman into custody just five minutes later. Six minutes after they detained that man, they did share the name and date of birth of the deceased, so they were able to begin looking into his background almost immediately.

In an effort to make sense of what they call a senseless situation, members of the man's family visited Public Safety Headquarters Wednesday morning and met with investigators.

Hawkins' mother, Margaret Hawkins, said, "We have a lot of unanswered questions, and we're just here to get answers."

Hawkins' brother Ronald Adam Harris said, "My brother was the type to take the T-shirt off his own back to give it to somebody. If he had nothing, he would still give."

"For that to happen? It just wasn't right," Harris said.

After watching video of the shooting, Harris said, "Something is wrong. They should not have let the man go. Why did they let this gunman go?"

White-Fosdick said a memorial service will be held for Hawkins at 10 a.m. Thursday at the ministry across the street from where he died.

"We just want people to know William was loved and cared for, and his loss is a loss to our city, his family and our community," White-Fosdick said.

Sponsored by a number of non-profits that serve the homeless, they said they want people to come together on behalf of the most vulnerable members of the community.

Click here to learn more about the efforts of the Christian Assistance Ministry to help people who are homeless.

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