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‘We don’t know what prompted this’ | Jail inmate killed in attack among suspected Mexican Mafia members

The sheriff says two males escaped their cell and stabbed one other inmate. Now, jailers are on excessive alert in case of retaliation.

SAN ANTONIO — The sheriff says two males escaped their Bexar County Jail cell Sunday and killed one other inmate. Authorities say the sufferer and two suspects are energetic members of the Texas Mexican Mafia. 

Now, Sheriff Javier Salazar says jailers are on excessive alert and a SWAT workforce is on standby in case inmates need payback for the homicide behind bars. 

“We’re waiting for retaliation,” Salazar stated. “We’re waiting for the other shoe to drop.” 

Deputies Sunday charged Ernesto Tavera, 50, and Brandon Lerma, 28, with homicide. The sheriff added $500,000 to every inmates’ present bond. 

The sheriff says the attack started shortly after the sufferer, 40-year-old Vincent Garcia, informed a unit officer he was uncomfortable residing in his block. 

During the dialog, the sheriff says Tavera and Lerma broke out of their cells and stabbed Garcia with a pointy object.

The assault ended when a unit officer initiated an emergency code and opened a door for the sufferer to flee by means of. EMTs handled the stab wounds whereas deputies took the suspects into custody with out incident, the sheriff stated. 

The sufferer died in the jail infirmary at 7:07 a.m.

“We’re doing everything we can to examine what went wrong,” Salazar stated. “Clearly, these two suspects should not have been able to breach that door.” 

Salazar known as shoddy locks a “daily concern” for jailers, including that directions for disabling cell doorways are simply discovered on YouTube. 

“It’s really not rocket science,” Salazar stated, including that he would not know if there’s sufficient money in the county funds to fund upgrades. 

The three males lived in a wing the place the sheriff’s office holds suspected gang members. Salazar stated jails segregate inmates this approach to forestall gangsters from recruiting or threatening different inmates. 

“Why don’t we spread them out? Well, because then basically you’re spreading the cancer at that point throughout the facility,” Salazar stated.

The segregation coverage is taken into account a best-practice by the National Institute of Justice. Suspected gang members and inmates accused of violent crimes additionally put on crimson jumpsuits. 

Salazar says these high-risk inmates could also be topic to extra frequent searches, however some can evade additional scrutiny by disassociating from their gang. 

“They go from being a current member to an ex-member, just like that,” Salazar stated, snapping his fingers. “Then they go right back to being a gang member when it becomes convenient for them.”

Still, some ex-gang members do not need to put on crimson jumpsuits, Salazar stated. The sheriff’s office depends on reconnaissance and intelligence to confirm the inmates’ claims and affiliations. 

“These criminal organizations and the people that belong to them are master manipulators,” he added. 

Segregating inmates who’re members of organized crime rings is frequent, however the coverage concentrates inmates suspected of violent crimes to a couple areas of the jail. 

Only one deputy was stationed close by when Sunday’s attack occurred. The cadet in cost of monitoring the unit’s doorways was a brief staffer in coaching. 

Salazar stated he is taken steps to make sure extra jailers are stationed in high-risk wings. 

“Some of these folks just bought themselves a little bit higher security rating now,” he added.

The sheriff’s office says there are at present round 400 suspected members of the Texas Mexican Mafia or an affiliated group on the Bexar County Adult Detention Center.

The Texas Rangers will deal with the loss of life investigation, and BCSO Internal Affairs and the Public Integrity Unit are conducting their very own investigations. The Texas Commission on Jail Standards has been notified.

This is a growing story.