War Stories Will Never Be The Same

A friend sent a story about the old days of policing in San Antonio. The capture, shooting, conviction and escape attempt of Fred Gomez Carrasco happened in the early seventies, before I started in law enforcement. Carrasco’s nemesis was SAPD Sgt. Bill Weilbacher and the Felony Squad.

I was partnered with Weilbacher in the 90’s. He was working for Bexar County Sheriff’s Office. He was assigned to the gang unit and seconded out to the narcotics task force. We ended spending many hours together on surveillance. His recounting of various stories didn’t always track news stories from back in the day.

Over the years I have heard a wide range of stories about Bill. Some are not complimentary. What I have to relate, came from him. Maybe they are true, then again maybe not. Here is a link to the story I was sent.


Fred Gomez Carrasco was every bit the bad ass that the press made him out to be. Weilbacher claimed that towards the end of his freedom, Carrasco used murder as foreplay. Without a death Fred was impotent.

The end of freedom came in a south side motel on Roosevelt Avenue. Weilbacher obtained a search warrant and put together a raid team. The plan was simple, kick the door, kill Carrasco. There was to be no trial. They succeeded in shooting Carrasco. But didn’t kill him.

Carrasco went off to do his time in TDC. In 1974, Carrasco took hostages in the Huntsville prison library. The siege lasted eleven days. The hostage takers cobbled together a moving barricade. They attempted to reach a getaway vehicle, provided by authorities. Texas Rangers and guards used fire hoses to knock the barricade apart. This resulted in a shootout. Two women hostages were killed. Carrasco was injured. He did not survive the bullet delivered to the back of his head. Some say it was a Texas Ranger who delivered the fatal shot. Others maintain it was a DPS Narcotics Agent, either way the shooting was characterized as a suicide.

Elvis is in the House

Elvis Presley played San Antonio. He stayed at the Ramada Inn on Austin Highway. Bill and the “Felony Squad” bugged his room, without benefit of a court order. They caught Presley buying pills from a local dealer. Col. Parker arrived on the scene. He pointed out that Presley certainly deserved to be punished, but the resultant publicity would cause a furor that was out of proportion to the crime. Col. Parker suggested a fine, to be paid on the spot as an equitable solution. The Felony Squad agreed. There is no record of the transaction.

Years later the Chief of the San Antonio Police Department expressed an interest in gathering up old police equipment and photos in order to start a police museum. Weilbacher offered the bugging equipment as an exhibit. The Chief passed on the offer.

Right is Right

It was coming up on a long holiday weekend. A local bail bondsman called Weilbacher and told him he was offering a substantial reward for a bond jumper, of their mutual acquaintance. It took a couple of days but Weilbacher got his man. The bondsman had left town for the long weekend. This was before the advent of pagers, cell phones and the Internet. This put Weilbacher and his partner on the horns of a dilemma.

Bill and his partner huddled together, with the crook looking on. The problem was simple. They could not contact the bondsman and claim their reward. If they booked the crook into jail, then a jail sergeant was likely to find the bondsman and claim the reward. Bill, his partner and the crook all agreed that was unfair. After all, according to the crook, Bill had caught him fair and square.

They arrived at a solution that involved hamburgers, beer and a bucket. Weilbacher took the crook home and chained him to a pipe in the garage. The crook was supplied with beer and hamburgers until the bail bondsman returned on Tuesday. Everybody was happy, nobody complained.

When I knew Bill, he was up in age. He claimed early sixties, but he was closer to early seventies. When he accompanied us on search warrants, he didn’t try to keep up with the young guns. Typically he would stroll in after the dust had settled.

Time and again crooks who wouldn’t say shit if they had a mouthful changed their tune when they spotted Weilbacher. Once Bill joined the conversation, they wouldn’t shut up. Some of these guys were proud to talk to Weilbacher. After all, he had sent their grandfathers, father and uncles to prison. Now they had a chance to carry on the family tradition.

It was a different era, one that had largely passed when I arrived on the scene. Maybe it is me, I don’t think war stories twenty years from now will be quite the same. I won’t be around to hear, but this is probably a fair rendition:

“There I was cameras to the left of me, cameras to the right, all capturing my every word. I went for it, “I KNOW you’re sorry!” (Not as acknowledgement of remorse but a comment on the suspect’s personality.) I got away with it!” Sigh….