Warning: The actions depicted in the video may be too graphic for some viewers.
The suspect, identified as 46-year-old Joe Gomez, was shot by San Antonio Park Police officer John Maines. The shots fired by Officer Maines were nonlethal. Gomez shot and killed himself after Officer Maines shot at Gomez during the shooting. Maines is an 11-year veteran with the police force.
'Nothing short of a miracle':
According to the newly released video, at approximately 2:30 pm the suspect, Gomez, is seen driving against traffic on the lower level of the San Antonio Airport’s pick up and drop off area.
Officer Maines was working in the A terminal in the lower level, arrival area that day and noticed Gomez driving towards him. Gomez parked his vehicle in the B terminal, is seen exiting his vehicle, and immediately opens fire towards the airport and the vehicles in the vicinity.
SAPD Chief William McManus described the video to KENS 5 ahead of it's release.
According to McManus, Officer Maines "puts his hands up and all of a sudden the car stops, the guy gets out, gets into a shooting stance and starts cracking off crack off rounds in all directions."
Pedestrians, seen in the video, immediately begin to duck behind pillars in the terminal. Several vehicles speed off as Gomez continues to fire his weapon, a handgun, reloads and immediately fires his weapon again. Officer Maines is seen in the video running towards Gomez and ducks behind a pillar.
Officer Maines fires at Gomez, striking him. Gomez then ducks into his vehicle, immediately exits, and then kneels on the ground and shoots himself in the head. The Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Officer later identified Gomez’s fatal injury as self-inflicted.
Officer Maines then runs towards Gomez – who is lying on the ground after shooting himself – and puts his weapon away.
Aside from someone sustaining a sprained ankle, authorities said no one else was injured in the incident, which prompted a temporary lockdown of the airport as police investigated.
“The officer who stopped this saved a lot of lives,” McManus said in the hours following the incident. “This guy had a full box of ammunition, he had a .45-caliber handgun he was shooting at the direction of the terminal, at the police officer, and behind him. We were very lucky not to have a lot of people injured or killed.”
McManus echoed those sentiments Thursday ahead of the video's release, saying he couldn't "overemphasize the significance of what [Officer Maines] did and stopping that shooter."
"It's nothing short of a miracle that nobody was hurt. I mean, it was divine intervention, if you ask me," McManus said.
Police believe Gomez was the same individual who allegedly fired several shots from the Highway 281/Loop 1604 overpass earlier in the day; the chief said he matched the description, and the shell casings at both scenes are identical.
“Someone yelled, 'Active shooter.'”:
According to SAPD, several 911 calls were made during the shooting. Audio from one of those calls was released along with the surveillance video. In it, an unidentified woman tells the responding dispatcher, “There’s a shooting at the airport. They’re at the airport. There’s someone shooting.”
Witnesses KENS 5 spoke to on the day of the shooting said that people began running past TSA checkpoints yelling “Shooter! Shooter!”
"It kind of looked like they were late for a flight," said Curtis Rogers, flying home to Kentucky. "Then someone yelled, 'Active shooter.' We saw people running left, and we went left."
Lee Ann Yarbor flew to San Antonio from San Diego. She says a restaurant worker pulled her, her husband, and her service dog behind the shop's counter to duck and hide.
"I was just hoping to God that I wasn't going to get shot," she said. "We didn't know if there were dead people down there or what was happening."
Yarbor says she wasn't sure who'd been shot or what exactly happened until more than an hour after the shooting stopped.
Doug Rosini, flying out on business, detailed his experience to reporters shortly after he left the building.
"I saw this, heard of people running and heard somebody yell, 'Shooter, run!,' and when somebody yells, 'Shooter, run,' you run," he said. "The only thing running through my mind was getting back to my family—the thought of that not happening."
POLICE SHOOTINGS IN SAN ANTONIO:
This year, San Antonio City Council enacted new protocol for the release of video from "critical incidents," including police shootings and use of force that result in serious injury or death. According to the policy, SAPD has 60 days from the date of the incident to release audio and video recordings.
Efforts to pass the new policy began following a 2020 letter from Mayor Ron Nirenberg requesting "a complete review of our police department body worn camera policies by the full city council." Earlier that year, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff raised the alarm for what he said was much-needed reform when it comes to how law enforcement handle certain situations.
Nirenberg said Thursday he was pleased the video was released, adding he is "hopeful that they will be released in a timely fashion going forward."
According to McManus, the shooting at the San Antonio Airport was the first such incident to fall under the policy. The chief said the protocols are in place for transparency.
"There's been a...cry across the country for greater transparency," the chief said."And prior to our policy coming into effect, the policy that we followed was the law, the state law."
Across Texas, HB1036 requires that all law enforcement agencies report “certain injuries or deaths caused by peace officers and for certain injuries or deaths of peace officers,” to the Attorney General’s Office. It also requires the Attorney General release an annual report with a summary of statewide data involving officer-involved shootings.
The bill filed by Texas Representative Eric Johnson – who is now the current mayor of Dallas – went into effect in September of 2015. Information collected includes the date and location of the incident, the gender, age, and race or ethnicity of all individuals involved. It also requires departments to include whether the individual involved “used, exhibited, or was carrying a deadly weapon.”
The airport shooting marked the sixth shooting, as of June 10, involving a San Antonio Police Department officer firing their weapon at a suspect in 2021. As of Thursday, nine such incidents have occurred this year.
- Jan. 2: A San Antonio police officer shot at two men who pointed a gun at him on the southeast side.
- January 27: Four police officers shot and killed a man at South Park Mall after police said he fled a traffic stop.
- February 20: SAISD officer Manuel Espinoza was working off-duty as a security guard at Walmart when he shot a man who pulled a gun, police say.
- February 26: A man was killed by San Antonio Police officers responding to the scene of a shooting on the east side Friday night,
- March 26: A San Antonio police officer shot and killed a man whom officers said was threatening his wife and family.
- April 15: A San Antonio Park Police officer shot and injured a man who opened fire at the San Antonio Airport. The shooter took his own life moments later.
- April 16: Two men were killed by a police officer who returned fire after being shot in the hand when a traffic stop turned violent on the city's west side.
- April 20: Officers shot and killed a man who had reportedly killed his friend minutes before on the city's south side.
- June 3: A man was shot and killed after he walked toward police with a knife, officials said.
Since 2016, 85 shootings where an SAPD officer discharged a weapon have occurred in the Alamo City. KENS 5 will continue to track the number of incidents where SAPD officers shot an individual.