Monday, May 24, 2010

Officer Hector R. Garza

Officer Hector R. Garza
San Antonio Police Department, TX
Born: August 22, 1952
Cause of Death: Gunfire
End of Watch: Thursday, March 29, 2001
Date of Incident: Thursday, March 29, 2001
Age: 48
Badge Number: 158
Tour of Duty: 25 yr
Suspect Info: Sentenced to death on two counts capital murder
Weapon Used: Handgun; Mac-10
Buried: Not disclosed
Location of Name on National and Texas Monuments
TPOM: 32, B, 01

Officer Garza was shot and killed after responding to a domestic dispute on S. San Eduardo. Two officers were initially called to the residence at approximately 7:45 am to stand guard while a resident removed possessions from a house. Officers were called back at approximately 8:55 am for another disturbance involving the man and wife. The two were arguing in a bedroom. The suspect had his back to Officer Garza while he attempted to separate the two. The suspect suddenly spun around and shot Officer Garza in the head with a Mac-10 semi-automatic handgun.

The suspect then shot and killed his wife before chasing the woman's brother-in-law. After running out of ammunition he went back into the home and got an AK-47 and shot and wounded the brother-in-law and then shot Officer Garza again as he lay on the ground. The suspect was apprehended and charged with two counts of capital murder and three counts of attempted capital murder. He was convicted of the capital murder charges and sentenced to death. The suspect's mother was also charged in connection with starting the incident that led to the murders and sentenced to one year in prison.

Officer Garza had been employed with the San Antonio Police Department for 25 years. He is survived by his wife and five children.

Officer Garza liked the Beatles, tie-dye tee shirts, track, and softball. He was a basketball coach for St. Martin's Hall kinder class. Officer Garza was considering retirement and looking forward to pursuing a second career as a history teacher. He graduated from Central Catholic High School in 1970, served a tour of duty in the U.S. Army and worked as a truck driver before pursing a career in law enforcement. Officer Garza attended San Antonio College and the University of Texas at San Antonio. In November 1998, he received a Bachelor of Science degree in occupational education from Wayland Baptist University. He spent his free time barbecuing with family and friends, reading historical novels, fishing and searching San Antonio for old Beatles recordings to buy. Police Chief Al Philippus said, "Hector was a good guy with a big heart. Everybody liked him." Chief Philippus also said he and Officer Garza had been police cadets together, graduating from the academy in 1975.

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