A suspected criminal was fatally shot on Tuesday after a scuffle with a police officer during an attempted arrest. The suspect, Darrell Zemault, was being arrested on charges of domestic violence and a bond violation for a family violence offense by several San Antonio officers, when the suspect hit an officer in the face and tried to snatch his gun and attempted to flee the scene.
Anticipating trouble, the officer fired at Zemault in the presence of other cops. The suspect was taken to the hospital where he died later. It is still not known how many shots were fired at the man and where he was hit.
In Self Defense
Several officers in uniform and plainclothes were serving two arrest warrants in the 100 block of Willee Drive in Loma Park for domestic violence and a bond violation for a family violence offense, when Zemault tried to break loose. Zemault was in a front yard when officers approached him to make an arrest but suddenly turned violent and engaged in a scuffle with one of the officers.
"When the officer grabbed him to place him under arrest, he fought, he hit the officer in the face with a can of paint," San Antonio Police Chief William McManus told reporters at the scene. Following this, both the officer Zemault fell to the ground and started wrestling. During the struggle, the suspect pulled the officer's gun from his holster and tried to attack him.
The two started fighting over the gun and one of the officers fired a shot. Zemault was immediately taken to hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
It is still not clear if he was shot once or was hit multiple times. Zemault's children say their father was shot in the back in the presence of three plain-clothed officers and two in uniform. Zemault's family now says that the officers could have handled the situation more delicately instead of firing at him. The police, however, is yet to make a comment on this.
Moreover, the charges against Zemault were called into question by his daughter, Susie, who doubted the domestic violence allegations reported by her father's girlfriend. Susie said her father had been with her mother for 30 years and had no prior history of domestic violence. "How is someone a threat to you when you shoot them in them in the back," said the family's spokesperson. Also, Bexar County court records show no domestic violence charges against Zemault, but show pending charges that include stalking and two counts of assault of a peace officer.
McManus stressed that the information he gave is preliminary and that details may change once investigators review footage of the incident. The officer involved in the scuffle received minor injuries to his face from the paint can, McManus said. He said the department will not release footage from police body cameras at this time. "We release body cam video when it's allowed by law," he said. "Right now, there's an investigation that's just beginning."