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Elmendorf mourns Chief Pimentel
WILLIAM J. GIBBS JR. —
A memorial of flowers, balloons, signs, and prayer candles in honor of slain police Chief Michael Pimentel continues to grow outside Elmendorf City Hall.
A somber mood continues to hang over the small town of Elmendorf in the aftermath of the Aug. 23 slaying of police Chief Michael Pimentel, 64, who was shot to death in a confrontation during a traffic stop.
As of press time Monday, Aug. 25, Joshua Manuel Lopez, 24, of Elmendorf remains held in the Bexar County Jail on a total of $1,002,000 bond. He is charged with capital murder of a police officer for allegedly shooting Pimentel in the shoulder and abdomen. He also is being held on a misdemeanor charge of graffiti under $500 for an Aug. 19 incident in which Lopez allegedly tagged a city worker’s truck.
At approximately 11:30 a.m. on Aug. 23, Pimentel attempted to conduct a traffic stop of a silver Honda Civic at the intersection of South First Avenue and East Ninth Street, not far from Lopez’s residence on South First Street. Lopez allegedly shot Pimentel in the street, and was apprehended by Bexar County Sheriff’s Office deputies a short time later.
Pimentel was flown from the scene via AirLife helicopter, joined by Elmendorf police Sgt. Jason Burchett. He was pronounced dead at University Hospital in San Antonio at approximately 12:40 p.m.
“I have no words to express the level of grief and loss that we at the city of Elmendorf feel,” said Mayor Evelyn Lykins in a statement to the Wilson County News. “Our prayers are with Chief Pimentel’s family.”
During an Aug. 25 press conference, Burchett said that Pimentel was not wearing a bulletproof vest at the time of the incident. He declined to answer further questions, deferring them to the sheriff’s office -- which has taken the lead in the ongoing investigation.
“We extend our condolences and sadness to the family of Michael Pimentel and to the entire community of Elmendorf,” said Bexar County Sheriff Susan Pamerleau. “Even in a quiet, peaceful community in the middle of the day, things can turn deadly in an instant.”
Lykins also said, “Chief Pimentel served as the chief of the Elmendorf Police Department for over a year and, in that time, worked to more effectively serve the citizens of Elmendorf and to provide a safer and more efficient work environment for his officers. He embraced the community of Elmendorf not only as its head law enforcement officer but also as a resident. We will miss him.”
Residents continue to remember Pimentel, of whom Burchett said, “He was more than my boss.”
A makeshift memorial of balloons and novena candles continues to form outside Elmendorf City Hall and city officials are asking residents to illuminate their front porches with blue light bulbs until Saturday, Aug. 30, in honor of Pimentel as part of the Blue Light Project. Donations of bulbs continue to pour into City Hall, where they also can be picked up.
Pimentel’s funeral arrangements are pending, and will be posted at wilsoncountynews.com.
Meanwhile, Burchett -- the department’s only remaining paid officer -- leads the force of approximately 10 reserve officers. City Administrator Cody Dailey said the city’s residents will continue to have adequate police coverage.
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September 2, 2014 10:15am
William J. Gibbs Jr.
September 2, 2014 7:52am
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