San Antonio-based Fox 29 reports that one man identified by friends and family as 52 year-old Manuel Rios was shot and killed Monday morning on the East Side of San Antonio, and the strange case is making big waves in the news media.
What makes the murder so notable is the fact that there was absolutely no apparent motive. According to everyone who knew Rios, the man had absolutely no enemies and never associated with any shady characters who might be involved with killers.
“My dad had no enemies. I knew he never had enemies,” said Manuel Jr., the man’s son.
“He was the sweetest person you’d ever meet.”
The man’s wallet was not taken, nor was he brutalized in any way other than the gunshot.
“No money was taken, nothing,” said Aurora Aguilera, one of Rios’s daughters. “It’s odd. It doesn’t make sense.”
San Antonio police seem to have the same feeling, because they are totally stumped as to who would have wanted the man dead and are asking anyone with any information about the shooting to call 210-224-7867.
Rios worked at an International House of Pancakes on the other side of town from his apartment, and he was on his way to the bus stop early one morning when the shooting took place. The man’s body was found by a neighbor when she stepped out later. The body was sprawled out on a grassy area outside the apartment.
The neighbor quickly reported the body to the police as well as the man’s son, who lived upstairs in the same apartment as Rios.
Out of all the heartbreaking testimonies given by family members, Rios, Jr.’s is an especially stirring one.
“Just the way his body was turned, like he was trying to go up the stairs for me to help him, and I couldn’t,” said Rios, Jr., who was sleeping at the time the murder took place — another neighbor said she had heard three gunshots sometime between four and six o’clock.
He adds that he is tortured by the thought that his father may have been trying to get to him in his last moments.
Angel Aguilera, another one of Rios’s daughters, recalls how loving the man was, recounting the last time she ever heard his voice over the phone.
“I had him on speaker. He was talking to my son. He was like, ‘What are you doing?’ And I just heard him say, ‘I love you.’ And my son said, ‘I love you too.'”
— Ashlei King (@AshleiKing) August 1, 2016
As is usually the case in the wake of a tragedy, however, grief was followed by anger.
“If they were man enough to shoot him in the back, they should be man enough to step up and do the time,” said Rios’s wife, pointing out that the man’s murder was a “cowardly and pathetic” one.
“I feel sorry for them. They have to answer to God at the end.”
After anger comes mourning, and, according to ABC 11, Rios’s family held a vigil for the man’s loss on Tuesday night.
“I miss him, and it breaks my heart that this happened,” Rios Jr. said. “And I know tears and words can’t bring him back, but I know he’s listening and watching right now.”
Community members showed up with gifts, many of them clothed in black-and-silver San Antonio Spurs gear — according to those who knew Rios, the team was one of his favorite talking points.
50 people at the vigil for Manuel Rios. He was shot & killed in front of his apt on Mon. No suspects at this time pic.twitter.com/RbgeBj6DBu
— Sharon Ko (@SharonKoKENS5) August 3, 2016
While Rios’s murder is of course a terrible tragedy, it is just one instance in a growing trend of murders and violence on San Antonio’s east side, a fact that the man’s family members say needs more exposure.
“When is the crime going to stop?” pleaded Rios, Jr. “It’s always in the East Side and nobody says nothing. Nobody says nothing until it’s them.”
The police are also concerned about the rash of violence and are aware it stretches beyond one man, but they are still thoroughly baffled by Rios’s case and will not cease investigation until some resolution for the man’s death is found.
[Photo by iStock]