Fernando Macias died nine months after a psychotic episode that ended in the death of his mother and his own serious wounding. Macias had been diagnosed with a schizoaffective disorder.
His is just one of several deaths raising questions at Texas’ Bexar County Adult Detention Center. Like Macias, other inmates had died after losing significant amounts of weight.
Now his family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Bexar County Sheriffs Offices and University Hospital System (UHS). According to the lawsuit, Macias lost 104 pounds and developed bedsores due to the UHS and Sheriff’s Office’s failure to provide proper care.
Although he was on kidney dialysis, he had not received treatment for a considerable period. His oxygen levels were “dangerously” low. The lawsuit also alleges Macias suffered from dehydration, malnourishment, and hypothermia.
When he entered the hospital after a standoff with police, he weighed 300 pounds. According to the lawsuit, Macias was “left to languish in custody.” He was awaiting transfer to the North Texas State Hospital at the time of his death.
In March 2018, Macias, then 60, was involved in a 24-hour standoff with Bexar County deputies along with other law enforcement officers. The incident began when law enforcement visited the northwest Bexar County home to check on the welfare of Amelia Macias, 84, Fernando’s mother.
Fernando was his mother’s caregiver but was delusional. According to his brother Walter Macias, Fernando was afraid a breakdown in society was imminent, and he had to protect his mother. To that end, he obtained an assault rifle. Even though he failed a background check because of his long history of mental illness, Macias could still purchase an assault rifle from a local gun retailer. Family members notified police when Fernando refused to allow them into the house to check on Amelia.
When the deputies entered the home, Fernando shot at them. He also threatened to blow up the house by shooting up propane tanks.
SWAT Team Upends Plan
The sheriff’s deputies planned to wait the situation out. They did so for the rest of the night and into the following day. The standoff ended only when the Department of Public Safety got involved, and they were not willing to wait.
In an ensuing exchange of gunfire, a Texas Rangers SWAT team called to the scene accidentally shot and killed the wheelchair-bound woman. They had been told the gunman was wearing a red shirt – but so was Amelia. Macias was also shot several times.
At one point, DPS officials flew a drone over the dwelling. Macias shot at it. However, surveillance footage taken by the drone showed Macias was injured. The SWAT team then entered the home and took him into custody.
Macias was charged with three counts of attempted capital murder of police officers, stemming from his shooting at law enforcement during the standoff. He was later found incompetent to stand trial.
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