Too often they place their lives in danger to protect the public and those they love. They are our law enforcement, our firefighters, our EMS personnel. They are a close-knit family who take care of each other and protect the citizens of their towns and counties.
Just over four years ago, one of law enforcement’s finest paid the ultimate price to protect the rest of us. His story needs to be told so we do not forget those who give their all to keep the rest of us safe from danger.
Officer Robert “Bobby” Deckard was in pursuit, along with countless other law enforcement officers, to apprehend two suspects in armed robberies of convenience stores in San Antonio. The chase entered Atascosa County. As Deckard caught up with the fleeing vehicle, one of the suspects began firing through the back glass of the vehicle. Officer Deckard was struck by one of the bullets and died ten days later in a San Antonio hospital.
Officer Deckard’s uncle, Fred Williams, shared a glimpse into Bobby Deckard’s life. He grew up on the southeast side of San Antonio. He was cared for by his uncles and grew up as a “normal kid,” active in sports. He played baseball and soccer and excelled in high school.
After graduation, he began a search for what he wanted to become. He worked briefly as a welder, worked on a golf course, took some courses at Texas A&M. But none of these were “his gig.”
The family was shocked, his uncle related, when he chose to go into law enforcement. He studied the Bexar County Jail System and then enrolled in classes to become a police officer. He graduated as an officer in 2006.
The family also released this statement with the SAPD, who shared it with the Express.
“First, we would like to thank the prosecution team for their diligent work throughout this entire process. We also would like to thank all of the employees and deputies of the Atascosa County Courthouse for their hospitality and professionalism. We are eternally grateful for all of the unwavering support from the San Antonio Police Department, family and friends, and the San Antonio community over the past four plus years. Today, we feel that justice was served. The way in which our beloved Bobby was taken from us will always be a burden on our hearts, but we take greater comfort in the way he lived his life. Bobby had a passion for helping people. Please help us continue honoring his memory by also helping others in need.”
-Family of Officer Bobby Deckard #582
He is survived by his wife and two children. He had always been “a great father” his uncle related.
The man accused of Deckard’s death, Shaun Puente, was found guilty by an Atascosa County jury. After the jury deadlocked on the sentence, District Judge Donna Rayes sentenced Puente to life in prison without parole.
During a five week trial, Shaun Puente was found guilty of capital murder for the death of San Antonio Police Officer Robert Deckard by an Atascosa County jury. After the punishment portion of the trial, the jury deadlocked and was unable to reach a verdict to determine if Puente should receive the death penalty or life without the possibility of parole. Once the jury notified the court, Honorable 81st District Judge Donna Rayes declared a mistrial, and sentenced Shaun Puente to life in prison without the possibility of parole. In Texas, to receive the death penalty, a jury must reach a unanimous verdict. The District Attorney’s Office strongly believed the death penalty was appropriate for the killing of Officer Deckard, and Puente’s extensive, violent, criminal past. The case was prosecuted by 81st District Attorney Audrey Louis, Assistant DA Marc Ledet, and Texas Assistant Attorney General William Turner. The DA’s office gave special thanks to Paralegals Jeanette Whitehead, Carly Rakowitz, and Investigators Mike Kelly and Ray Talamantez for assisting in Puente’s prosecution.