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Videos detail shooting
by Gary Kent
Jun 15, 2011 | 32296 views | 4 4 comments | 117 117 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dash-cam video of officer shooting
Dash-cam video of officer shooting
The Beeville Police Department released videos of the May 31 shooting incident in the parking lot in front of the Wal-Mart Supercenter.

The Bee-Picayune obtained the videos by filing an open records request with the Beeville Police Department last week.

Two videos were made available, one of which was taken by a camera on the dashboard of Sgt. Chris Vasquez’s patrol car and one which was taken from a camera on the roof of the Wal-Mart building.

Vasquez was looking for a car that matched the description of a vehicle that a man had fled in minutes earlier from the Stripes convenience store on North St. Mary’s Street.

The store clerk said the man walked out of the business at about 3:30 a.m. with some beer without offering to pay for it.

The officer found the vehicle and turned on his overhead emergency lights and the driver, 29-year-old Anthony Albert Ponce, pulled into a parking space in front of the grocery store side of the Wal-Mart building.

Ponce stepped out of the vehicle and Vasquez asked him to stay in the car. In the video, Ponce clearly had a handgun in his right hand and Vasquez immediately started to retreat, demanding that Ponce put down the gun.

But Ponce did not drop the gun and he started walking toward Vasquez. In the Wal-Mart security video, Vasquez is seen backtracking at least 30-40 feet, trying to get away from Ponce as he continues walking toward him with the gun in his hand.

Then Vasquez fires three times, halting a second or two between each shot.

The officer immediately calls police headquarters, reports “shots fired” and calls for EMS (emergency medical services).

Witnesses and investigators reported later that Vasquez began CPR on the victim and tried to keep him alive until EMS personnel could get to the scene.

Members of the Bee County Grand Jury were shown the videos the Thursday immediately after the shooting and they quickly returned a no-bill, refusing to charge the officer.

At least one of the officers investigating the incident called the shooting “suicide by cop.”

Ponce had been indicted by the same grand jury a month earlier on family violence charges that had been enhanced to a punishment range of from 25-99 years or life in prison because he had a previous felony conviction.

Beeville residents who knew Ponce said he had sworn he would not go to prison.

The images from the dash camera can be seen by going to the mySouTex.com web site and clicking on the video.

Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.
Comments
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HellFire
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September 30, 2011
“Protest when a person is shot and killed like that” Your words. Where is the protest and how on earth did you come to that conclusion?
texasborn
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September 30, 2011
"hellfire" I am married to a police officer, I worked as a paramedic and understand the dangers out there. It is strange how people like you protest when someone is shot and killed in a situation like that, but I bet you would squeal like a pig if it was your husband/wife, son/daughter, etc., that was the cop and did not shoot and got killed themselves. You are all the same, gotta complain about "the man" over stepping his bounds.....give it up, it was TOTALLY justified and that officer DOES deserve to commended for his actions. YOU should be ashamed of yourself!
HellFire
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June 27, 2011
Your screen name indicates you are a supervisor. I will admit that when I read your statement I was angered. I have issues with your comment, it just does not sit right, maybe it is just me…

First thing is you are presuming to “speak” for all Law Enforcement Officers relating to deadly use of force.

I whole heartedly disagree on the basis that most LEO’s would place themselves in that situation to neutralize a perpetrator and protect citizenry not because they are hero’s or act with John Wayne syndrome but because it is necessary and the nature of the beast. There a passages in the Bible, that encompasses LEO’s.

Even in a small department,as yours, a supervisor has responsibilities to subordinates. Each supervisor has different leadership traits but stating that someone forced to act as in this case should receive an award or public recognition is reckless at best.

Given known variables the only life this officer defended was his. The fact remains unknown if this was copicide or the result of mental abnormalities.

That makes a difference, at least to me and some others I know. IMHO we have no right what-so-ever to congratulate this man, but thank him, pray for him and hope and encourage him to stay the course as the protector.

Above all let him know that there are many, many of us, unknown personally to him that support, defend and understand his actions.

People will look at you different, treat you differently but life goes on.

That’s my two cents.

BishopChief
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June 27, 2011
None of us in law enforcement ever want to be in a situation that involves taking another humans life but, after viewing this video, I commend this officer for trying to get the suspect to drop his weapon and most of all, I commend this officer for performing CPR on this suspect that he just shot to try to save his life. I personally feel that this officer should be recognized in the most prestigious way possible. My heart go out to this officer.