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Mental health a priority after incidents like the one that left two San Antonio police officers shot, briefly hospitalized

Officers Rhett Shoquist and Raul Chavez are now healing alongside family after last week's shooting and police pursuit on the west side.

SAN ANTONIO — Health experts are stressing the importance of recognizing the triggers of trauma and seeking help after two San Antonio police officers survived a shooting while pursing a wanted felon last week. 

“A threat to life and limb, that’s a whole other level of trauma that first responders have to deal with,” said Julie Strentzsch said, CEO of the Crisis Center of Comal County.

They’re the men and women in blue sworn to serve and protect in a career filled with dangerous risks.

Officers Rhett Shoquist and Raul Chavez survived being shot by a fugitive last Thursday. The incident led to an hours-long standoff into the night at an apartment complex before 28-year-old Jesse Garcia surrendered to police. 

Shoquist has six years of service with SAPD and serves on the SWAT team. In online posts, family members have expressed love and gratitude for all of the health care workers as well as the wealth of support from the community as Shoquist heals. 

Prayers and well wishes have also flooded social media for Chavez, who has been with SAPD for four years. 

Strentzsch said that triggers can sometimes develop down the road for those who witnessed or experienced such trauma.

“Those individuals can relive the experience, sounds, noises, smells can bring that trauma right back to life as if it happened that day,” Strentzsch said. 

The Center for Health Care Services (CHCS) provides a host of behavioral health services for people impacted by mental health disorders, substance abuse and developmental disabilities. 

The organization’s president and CEO, Jelynne LeBlanc Jamison, said CHCS focuses on tailoring treatment to each client’s needs, which includes first responders. She stressed there’s no set timeline for recovery. 

“We meet the client where they are,” La Blanc Jamison said. “Our newest clinic, the Center Care clinic, has our counselors and our therapists that are certified in treating first responders and so we’re very excited that we have that expertise involved in our overall organization.”


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