Hero Down: Bexar Deputy Leo Gomez Dies From Mercury In Bullets He Was Shot With
San Antonio, TX – Bexar County Sheriff’s Deputy Leo Gomez died in the line of duty on May 2, due to complications from being shot in the line of duty 28 years ago.
Deputy Gomez, 63, was shot seven times by gang member Enrique Lopez on Feb. 24, 1991, WOIA reported.
Deputy Gomez was supposed to be on a day off when he encountered the shooter, former Bexar County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) Gang Unit Supervisor Deputy Kyle Coleman said.
The deputy, who had been with the unit for just two months, stopped Lopez to determine whether or not he was a gang member.
After questioning him, Deputy Gomez began to walk back towards his patrol vehicle.
That’s when the gangbanger pulled out a .45-caliber handgun, and shot him seven times.
"The next thing I remember is that I'm falling back on the ground," Deputy Gomez told WOAI in 2009. "And I'm crawling away from the patrol car, because he was in front."
Lopez started to run away, but Deputy Gomez shot him from underneath the patrol vehicle, hitting him four times, Deputy Coleman recounted.
Lopez was later convicted of attempted capital murder, and was sentenced to 50 years in prison. He was released into the community in 2009.
Deputy Gomez also survived the attack, but complications lingered due to the bullets Lopez used.
“The shooter had taken thermometer mercury and had put it in the hollow-point tips of the bullets," Deputy Coleman explained.
There is an urban legend that adding mercury in the tips of hollow point bullets can cause them to explode on impact.
“According to the doctors, that never leaves your body,” Bexar County Precinct 3 Constable’s Office Sergeant Jaime Perales added. “So, he suffered through a lot…He was expected to pass away.”
He even became a “research project” for the U.S. Air Force, Deputy Coleman said.
“For years he would go and they would do blood testing,” he said. “They would do a lot of work on Leo."
Sgt. Gomez ultimately returned to the force, and served for decades to follow.
“He just kept going and fighting through it,” Sgt. Perales said. “He was an outstanding officer. He was a true legend.”
Deputy Coleman said that Deputy Gomez was the epitome of a “street cop.”
“And Leo was damn good at what he did,” he added.
“You can ask any officer in San Antonio,” Sgt. Perales aid. “You mention his name, and a guarantee they know who he is.”
Deputy Gomez was ultimately diagnosed with brain cancer, forcing him to retire from law enforcement in 2018.
He died from complications of his wounds on May 2.
“He had a good life, but he went way too early,” Deputy Coleman said. “Way too early.”
Sgt. Perales said he went to see his friend after he passed away.
“When he was lying there, he had this little smirk on his face,” the sergeant noted. “He looked relaxed, like there was no more pain, like he was in a better place. That’s what helped us all out.”
Deputy Gomez was laid to rest on May 10.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Bexar County Sheriff’s Deputy Leo Gomez, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Deputy Leo Gomez, your life mattered.