At approximately 9:25 p.m. on Sunday night, December 16, just two days after the horrific shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, Jesus Manuel Garcia, age 19, entered the China Garden restaurant across the mall from the Santikos Mayan Palace 14 theater complex in San Antonio, Texas, looking for his ex-girlfriend. Angered that she had just broken up with him, he sent her a text message saying that he planned to go to the restaurant where she worked and “shoot somebody.”
Before she could warn patrons at the restaurant Garcia entered and started shooting. One bullet slightly wounded one patron while others scattered out the exit doors and headed for the safety of the theater lobby across the mall. Garcia chased them and continued shooting.
This got the attention of an armed off-duty law-enforcement officer who was working at the theater, Bexar County sheriff’s Sgt. Lisa Castellano, who chased Garcia to the back of the theater where he ducked into the men’s room. When he emerged, Castellano shot him four times which immediately and effectively ended the threat. Garcia was handcuffed with the help of another off-duty officer and taken to the hospital where he was listed in stable condition. He was charged with attempted capital murder of a police officer and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and his bail was set at $1 million.
In reporting the incident, local news recalled the Aurora, Colorado, theater attack last July. Hollie O’Connor, who covered the story for mysanantonio.com, said: "The shooting immediately sparked fears of a mass slaying like the one in July that killed 12 people and injured 58 at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado." She included a quote from one Cassandra Castillo, the mother of the theater's projectionist, who was worried about her son’s safety in the incident. Said Castillo, “It brings back memories of the other theater shooting and the elementary school shooting. You think only the worst.”
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