SAN ANTONIO - It was not a random, mass-shooting attempt like the ones in Newtown, Connecticut or Aurora, Colorado. We are learning more details about a man who opened fire at a local movie theater, wounding one person. Investigators say that young man was angry after his girlfriend broke up with him.
It happened Sunday night at the Santikos Mayan Palace 14 Theater on Southwest Military just off I-35. There are bullet holes in the exterior of the theater, but the gunman wasn't trying to hit movie-goers. He was apparently targeting some of his co-workers who he had chased out of a restaurant located right across the parking lot.
It could have been a tragedy, if an off-duty Sheriff's Sgt. working security for the theater hadn't taken down the gunman.
The gunman first showed up at the China Garden Restaurant, where investigators say he worked, along with his ex-girlfriend. Workers there were cleaning up shattered glass on Monday afternoon but had no comment.
Investigators believe the gunman chased restaurant employees out a back, side-door, and continued to shoot at them in the parking lot. He also shot through the windshield of an SAPD patrol car that pulled up, but the officer wasn't hit.
At least one restaurant employee ran into the Mayan Palace Theater trying to escape, but the gunman followed.
“We heard shots and right away we took off and hid behind some seats,” said Jessica Bosquez, who was in one of the auditoriums waiting to watch the movie, “The Hobbit”.
The gunman continued firing as he ran through the theater lobby, and movie-goers took cover then ran for the exits.
“We stayed hiding for like, ten minutes, then we saw a woman who hid where we were hiding take off for the exit so we took off too,” said Bosquez.
The gunman, identified as 19-year-old Jesus Manuel Garcia, didn’t appear to be firing indiscriminately. Witnesses saw him chasing someone who ran into the bathroom.
“A lot of people were hiding in the restroom, so I can only imagine the person he was chasing after ran inside the restroom,” said Joseph Monsalvo, who saw the gunman briefly, before running out an exit.
The Bexar County Sheriff's Office says the off-duty sergeant, who was working security, heard the gunshots and came running. She saw the gunman coming out of the men's restroom. The Sheriff’s Office says the gunman did not shoot at her, but his gun was drawn so she opened fire.
That off-duty sergeant, identified as Lisa Castellano, fired four times, wounding the gunman. Only one other person was wounded, a 49-year-old man inside the theater, who was hit by one of the gunman's shots. Both are expected to recover.
Investigators say about 30 rounds were fired. It’s unclear why the break-up with his girlfriend caused the man to go after his co-workers. Investigators haven’t ruled out a love-triangle involving someone else at the restaurant.