San Antonio Police Chief William McManus says the decision on whether officers should pursue fleeing suspects is always a sensitive one, especially considering the tragic case of four members of a family who were killed Sunday night by a vehicle which was fleeing from police, 1200 WOAI news reports.
McManus, in an interview with 1200 WOAI news, says it is police department policy to try to prevent chases, for just that reason.
"Its for officers' safety, and its for the safety of everyone on the roadways," McManus said.
George Munoz, 30, had allegedly just pointed a gun at another motorist in a road rage incident, and when a police officer tried to stop him, Munoz slammed into the patrol car, and then sped down Culebra Road.
When he reached Alicia Ave, which is near St. Mary's University, a car carrying five members of a family pulled onto Culebra and was broadsides by Munoz' vehicle. Four people in the car were killed, including two children, and a fifth child was seriously injured.
Munoz was charged today with four counts of murder, as well as evading arrest, aggravated assault on a public servant, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He is held on bonds totaling nearly three quarters of a million dollars.
McManus says this incident is not being considered a pursuit, because the officer had not begun chasing Munoz.
The chief says the decision to pursue a speeding vehicle is not up to the officer, but up to a supervisor.
"When the officer understands that the person he or she is trying to stop will not stop, the officer will contact a supervisor for permission to engage in pursuit," he said.