What started out as a birthday party turned into a nightmarish scene for Aspen Heights residents after an unknown gunman opened fire, leaving one man dead and another wounded.
Students from UTSA were celebrating a birthday party for one of their friends. A group of uninvited individuals started crashing the party after a different party nearby was shut down by the police.
“We were having a birthday party, and it was only people that we knew,” an eye witness who wishes to remain anonymous said. “At around 1:40 a.m., two officers showed up and told everyone they had to clear out and then they left. Then a bunch of guys started walking in as everyone was leaving.”
The witness told the group that they had to leave because they were shutting the party down, and the group complied. As the witness started to clean up, a commotion was heard outside.
“I went outside, and there was a huge fight,” the witness said.
The witness then went to the aid of one of his friends, who was being assaulted, and was also struck several times while trying to help. The witness then saw the victim, 20-year-old Randall Perkins, walking with a friend inside, when an unknown male pulled out a gun and fired two shots. One of the shots struck Perkins in the head. The other victim, a UTSA student, was wounded in the arm.
“Randall fell to the ground, and we all ran off but came back right away to help,” the witness said. “When we came back inside we started to try and help him; he was bleeding a lot and coughing up blood. We called 911 five times before we were able to get through.”
The witness then went to the gate to guide emergency services to the scene.
Another witness saw the events unfold from her second story bedroom window across the street after hearing noises outside.
“They were just getting into it (fighting) when I saw a guy standing on top of a car. I did not see anyone with a gun and then I heard the gunshot, and I kind of ducked from my window. Then I saw everyone scatter. The guys scattered , got into their car and drove off. Everyone was screaming,” said the other witness.
The second witness also heard that someone was seen with a gun at another party around the corner approximately 30 minutes before the shooting.
“The owner of the house started kicking people out, but most of them stayed (at the party around the corner). All of a sudden everyone scattered out of the house saying there was someone with a gun. The police came within 10 minutes and got a statement from the owner of that house,” the second witness said. “The cops left; they did not patrol.”
Perkins, an assistant lacrosse coach at Smithson Valley High School, died from his injuries and was pronounced dead at 3:26 a.m. at University Hospital.
Officers from the San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) were the first to arrive on the scene.
“I was dispatched to the listed location for a shooting in progress with a confirmed hit,” Officer Shawn King said in his report. “I observed V1 (Perkins) laying in the rear parking lot of building 56. An unknown male and female were on each side of V1 trying to help.”
SAPD then started gathering witness testimonies after securing the apartment complex and sealing off the entrance and exit.
According to the report, a witness said an unknown person started jumping on a vehicle in the rear parking lot of the location, and a large fight broke out.
“W1 (witness one) then saw a black male (SP1) wearing a white tank top;, W1 described the shirt as a wife beater, standing in the middle of the parking area. SP1 then pulled a gun out of his waist band and pointed the gun towards the crowd that was behind the duplex. W1 then heard (portion deleted) shots then saw V1 fall to the ground,” Hunt reported.
The suspect then ran east but may have returned during the commotion and drove off in the vehicle that was previously being jumped on.
The next day, Aspen Heights released an official statement concerning the killing.
“No words can express the shock and sadness we feel about this senseless tragedy. Our heart-felt condolences go out to the family and friends of the student who was killed and our thoughts and prayers are with our resident who was critically wounded and has since been released from the hospital. The safety of our residents is our highest priority. We are taking every step necessary to ensure that the community is secure,” the statement said.
We have added additional overnight security personnel, restricted access to the property and are taking other steps to bolster the safety of our community.
In addition to fortifying community safety, we also will have counselors on-site Sunday in our club house from 4-7 p.m. to help students deal with the tragedy. We also will be conducting a town hall with our residents in the coming days to open an broader dialogue about the tragedy, answer questions, and address any concerns they may have.”