When the San Antonio Police Department's police radio frequency crackled with the sound of high caliber rifle fire, Officer Pedro Garcia and his partner, Officer J.B. Garza, had some idea what was up at the corner house on Red Start Drive.
They'd been to the location only minutes before, searching for an outstanding warrant subject, Andres Vargas, who had a deadly conduct warrant incident to his having pointed an AK-47 at his ex-wife.
At the time, a warm car hood, open windows, and a tall wrought iron gate locked from inside of the property suggested to the officers that someone was home. But the thought of getting marooned in a locked enclosure with a guy presumably armed with an AK-47 didn't smack of tactical soundness, so the two officers agreed to re-visit the location later.
Unfortunately, another unit had pulled up to that same location just as the subject's son arrived home.
The young man had invited them in to search for his father. Not faced with a locked enclosure, the officers had taken the son up on his invite.
Now, those officers were being fired upon.
Returning to the Scene
Garcia and Garza parked near the property but as far out of eye-line of the two-story house as possible. In a bid to avoid exposing himself to any gunfire from the front of the residence, Garcia opted to scale the wrought iron fence at the corner of the property.
At the back of the dwelling, Garcia and Garza found a set of French doors, one of which stood wide open. A splash of fresh blood trailed from its threshold and around the corner of the house before disappearing from view in the backyard. For the moment, things were eerily quiet.
The stillness was quickly shattered by a rapid-fire barrage of large caliber weapons fire. Garcia and Garza darted for the best cover available: a boat and trailer parked beneath a carport awning in the driveway.
The rounds were going off so rapidly that Garcia was sure it had to be coming from an assault rifle. Leaving Garza behind the cover of the trailer, Garcia doubled back to his patrol car to retrieve something that would help even the odds: an AR-15 patrol rifle.
My Dad's Gone Crazy
Back in the carport, Garcia rejoined Garza and they tried to determine where the rounds were coming from. As they did, a young man popped his head out of a small bathroom window facing the carport.
Leveling his AR-15 at the young man, Garcia ordered him to keep his hands where they could see them.
The young man immediately complied, then cried, "My dad's gone crazy! He tried to kill me! He's upstairs!"
The boy's sincerity was not in question-he was plainly scared to death-but his loyalties were. Keeping his long gun trained on the young man, Garcia told him to climb out the window.
Once the kid was safely out of the house, Garcia glanced toward the rear of the property. He saw that the trail of blood terminated at the body of a uniformed officer.
Telling Garza to deal with the kid, Garcia made his way back to the fallen officer.
Officer Lawrence Robards lay on his back, bloody, but alive. Garcia could see where a bullet had taken a sizable piece of his leg.
"I need EMS," Robards moaned. "I need help real bad."
Garcia assured him that he'd get it.