Alamo Colleges and Tobin Lofts see a deadly 5-hour span

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A shooting and the death of two individuals marked tragedy for the night of May 9 through the morning of May 10 at Tobin Lofts, 1415 N Main Ave. Sgt. Lionel Martinez suffered a fatal heart attack as he responded to a shooting around 9:50 p.m. at the lofts. Hours later, a lofts security guard, whose name was not released, died because of a heart attack. Photo taken April 6. Geoffrey Hovatter

By Noah Alcala Bach

A string of tragic events started at about 9:50 p.m. May 8 when a 24-year-old resident of Tobin Lofts, whose name isn’t being released, returned to his apartment with a gunshot wound to his chest and called 911.

The victim was shot in Crockett Park just across the street from Tobin Lofts. San Antonio Police and Alamo Police responded to the call.

“Alamo PD is right in our backyard, so they are the responding officers,” Pamela West, Vice President of Operations at Campus Advantage, the property management company for Tobin Lofts said. “When a call comes in, I believe it goes to both. Alamo PD typically responds first. If there’s any reason needed, then SAPD would pick it up.”

Sgt. Lionel Martinez, a 21-year veteran of Alamo PD, suffered a heart attack while responding to the shooting and died.

“Our hearts go out to the family of that officer,” West said. “Being a police officer obviously is a very dangerous job no matter what, but to have someone have a heart attack, something like that is very tragic.”

Martinez was traveling westbound on East Dewey street when he suffered the heart attack and crashed into a parked vehicle.

“It’s very unfortunate what occurred,” District Chancellor Mike Flores said. “For public safety officers who are grieving, we stand by them and recognize them for their service and also tell them we support them each and every day, but especially during this time with the untimely passing of Sgt. Martinez.

“To the family of Sgt. Martinez, we stand by them,” Flores said. “I think in many ways he also viewed Alamo Colleges as part of his family, his professional family.”

The shooting victim was transported to Brooke Army Medical Center in critical condition.

“We have spoken to his family and he is, last we heard, doing very well,” West said. “That is really great news.”

The victim is not a student of this campus, and it is unclear if he was a student within the district. Students from this campus make up 57 percent of Tobin Lofts’ residents, and another 7 percent come from other Alamo College campuses.

A little more than four hours later in an unrelated incident, a security guard at Tobin Lofts was found unresponsive at 2:30 a.m. It was later confirmed he also suffered a heart attack and passed away.

“It was just a very sad and unfortunate event that took place while he was at work,” West said. “I don’t have many more details. Obviously, his family and the company he works for are handling that situation.”

Whelan Security, the company contracted by Tobin Lofts, declined to release the security guard’s name.

Because of the recent incident, Tobin Lofts is adding an additional officer to their weekly patrol.

“Anytime that you’re in a larger city and closer to a downtown metropolitan area, there’s always going to be additional crime in the area,” West said. “We have parks beside the property, you have the college right there and then you obviously have an entertainment district across the street. With all of those factors, we always have to just continue to monitor what’s going on. We work very closely with Alamo PD just to make sure we have additional measures in place.”

Both West and Flores are encouraging those affected by the tragedies to seek counseling.

“It’s been a challenging week for individuals within the public safety department, definitely for individuals at San Antonio College,” Flores said.

Flores said employee assistance programs are in place for Alamo College employees and West said Campus Advantage offers a “really great ‘Students First’ department” to hear the concerns of Tobin Lofts residents.

The Alamo Colleges Police Department and college President Robert Vela declined to comment.


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