Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Armed man roams Villas, animal abuse sparks resident concerns

Courtesy of Villas Residents

During February, a man brandishing a rifle was seen roaming the Villas at Babcock complex. The individual was confirmed to enter a unit where complex residents also reported witnessing animal abuse. Multiple residents expressed their concerns on the matter through a resident GroupMe. 

Animal abuse

During the Fall 2023 semester, multiple residents of Villas at Babcock student housing complex reported an instance of animal abuse to complex management. An Alaskan Husky mix breed dog was reported to have been left out on a balcony in Building 15, sometimes for several days and even during freezing conditions. 

Joan and Elise, two residents who live close to the unit in question, initially raised concerns about the animals’ well being. 

“[Having to] share a wall with him, it just hurt a lot. I don’t want to say he’s, like, abusing his dog, but that’s what it sounded like,” Joan stated. “You could tell the difference between when a dog cries from whatever else and being hurt.”

The residents also reported the dog having to relieve itself on the balcony when it was left outside for multiple days. 

“It was really bad. The dog would be urinating and pooping up there,” Elise stated. “There’s pee dripping down the side of the apartment. You could see it on the walls. You could see it on our walls too. And it smelled horrible from upstairs, from downstairs, from outside. It was really bad.”

Reporting issues

According to the two residents, complex management did not respond to their complaints. 

Courtesy of Villas residents

“There [are] so many things that happen here that they do nothing about,” Elise stated. 

“We’ve been complaining about them, literally since they moved in, like, since the beginning of our lease,” Joan stated. “And then we mentioned the dog, and [the management stated] ‘We can’t tell people what to do with their dogs.’ And that’s all. That was it.”

Joan also expressed frustration with Villas’ lack of enforcement of lease violations. 

“I’ve gotten plenty of these violations, pertaining to my dog from last year,” Joan stated. “They never once got any of those.”

Shots fired and lease violation

Joan explained that she witnessed the resident come home with a rifle, and what looked like paperwork for registration of the firearm. Subsequently, multiple residents have reported reckless use of the gun inside the complex. 

“They were just shooting it in the air like it was nothing,” Joan stated. “I was laying in my bed, it was like 3 a.m. All of a sudden, you hear like six gunshots ring out.” 

This incident is a violation of the Villas at Babcock’s leasing agreement. The lease states that “Neither you, or your guests will be allowed to engage in the following prohibited activities— displaying or storing a firearm, BB gun, pellet gun, or any other air-powered weapon, knife or other weapon in the Apartment Community in an open manner or in any way that may alarm others.”

According to residents, this incident happened twice, once on Feb. 4, and again on Feb. 16. The residents reported the initial incident to property management, and after the second incident occurred, the residents officially reported the gunfire to UTSAPD. However, Elise explained that when she reported the gunfire to the property management, the management expressed that they were unable to take any action as they did not want to put their employees in harm’s way. 

On Feb. 18, several residents reported seeing a man armed with a rifle knocking on the doors of units around the complex. Joan and Elise confirmed that this man was not a unit resident, but an individual who visted the apartment belonging to the alleged gun owner. This information was initially reported by residents in the Villas at Babcock’s resident GroupMe. 

“Apparently there’s dudes walking around with a rifle knocking on people’s doors late at night,” one resident stated on the resident GroupMe. 

Residents provided photos taken of the armed man through peepholes and through downstairs windows of multiple units. 

Another resident stated, “There were some guys outside my building knocking on my door last night and counting down, but we were too scared to check.”

Delayed response from Villas

Residents say that both the owner of the dog and the owner of the rifle have been evicted by the complex. However, the complex supposedly did not communicate this result with those who reported both incidents. When contacted to confirm if these evictions occurred, Villas at Babcock management did not respond. 

“The Villas didn’t actually say anything actively to us or, like, any of the residents,” Joan stated. “A girl went up there was like ‘Oh I’ll just see if they could tell me something about it’ and then she like texted me and was like ‘Oh yeah they’re both getting evicted.’”

Safety in question

However, despite this response from the complex, many residents are questioning the safety and security of Villas at Babcock. 

“During all of that, I didn’t feel safe at all,” Elise said. 

Joan then commented on a series of break-ins and thefts that occurred recently at the complex.

“My car got stolen. Villas did nothing about it,” Joan said. 

When asked what they feel the complex could have done better to respond to these issues, Joan and Elise stressed the importance of a quick response and clear communication with residents.

“Just act faster. That’s what I wanted to see. Why did it take so long? I want to see them act faster in situations like this,” Elise stated. 

Villas at Babcock was contacted for a comment regarding both incidents but failed to respond. 

This is a developing story.

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Jake Mireles, Opinion Editor
Jake (He/Him) is a second-year political science major at UTSA. Originally from Austin, he plans to move anywhere but Texas after graduation. If he is not climbing out from under a mountain of homework, you can usually find him listening to podcasts, playing saxophone or being an avid napper. This is his third-semester writing for the Paisano and his second semester serving as the Opinion Editor. He is excited for many to come while he explores a possible career path in journalism.
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    AnonFeb 27, 2024 at 4:49 pm

    Villas at Babcock management is incompetent when it comes to matters like this. I would not recommend living here.