San Antonio/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on May 28, 2024
80-Year-Old Woman Fatally Struck by Stray Bullet Amid Downtown San Antonio ShootoutSource: Google Street View

An 80-year-old woman was tragically killed by a stray bullet in downtown San Antonio late Sunday night, police said. Heidi Silkworth, who was in the city to attend a graduation ceremony, was struck in the head while riding as a passenger in a vehicle, according to the San Antonio Police Department (SAPD). Officers had responded to reports of a shootout at Indianola Street at East Cesar Chavez Boulevard around 10 p.m., where two groups of young men were firing at each other, the police explained.

SAPD Chief William McManus expressed his dismay over the incident, "This shooting last night made me sick to my stomach," in a statement obtained by KENS 5. Silkworth, hailing from Euless, was leaving the Alamodome when she was fatally hit and later pronounced dead at a local hospital. The shooting also injured a 19-year-old man, who police say, was involved in the shootout.

As news of the deadly encounter spread, unease has grown among both visitors and local business owners. "We need attention to it, we don’t want to kill the tourism here," Rene Fernandez, owner of a local eatery, said in a statement obtained by KSAT. Fernandez's sentiment reflects the broader concern over the impact of such violence on the community and its reputation.

In his comments, McManus emphasized that despite the occurrence, downtown San Antonio is regularly patrolled and the incident appears to be a random act. The department's San Antonio Fear Free Environment units are now assessing if more security measures are required in the area. Likewise, "Do you ever think twice when you come downtown?" John Paul Barajas of KSAT asked a local, with Margie Morales responding, "I do, just for the simple fact, that you just don’t know what’s going to happen." A total of nine young men were detained following the shooting, though no arrests have been announced at this time.

The SAPD continues to review video surveillance and forensic evidence in hopes of bringing the perpetrators to justice. Multiple shell casings were discovered at the scene, but it remains unclear who fired the fatal shot that ended Silkworth's life. This incident, underscoring the precariousness of public safety in urban environments, has prompted calls for increased law enforcement visibility to prevent further tragedies.