While talking to my friend David yesterday about our high school days the name of David Flores came up. David Flores was a San Antonio Police Lieutenant who was our second Law Enforcement instructor at Roosevelt High School (1976-77). We had a total of 4 for the year. They kept coming and going. The students in the class held Mr. Flores in high regard since he was the police officer who, in 1973, shot and helped to capture Fred Gomez Carrasco, the most notorious criminal, drug dealer in South Texas and Northern Mexico.
What I couldn’t understand was why Mr. Flores, a Lieutenant in the police force, would be relegated to teaching a high school Law Enforcement class. The first couple of weeks with Mr. Flores were filled with nothing but boring lectures. The students could tell that he wasn’t enjoying the teaching experience and that he must have been sent to the school as some sort of punishment or that maybe he was someone who was just bidding his time until he could retire. Mr. Flores himself knew that he was losing us in terms of us having any interest in his lectures. He soon forgot about the lectures and the classes simply became a time for us to have 50 minute “bull sessions”.
These bull sessions themselves became very informative when we heard him tell us stories about his days on the street as a police officer. At the end of a semester he was required to give us a “final exam”. The final exam for us was that we had to write down the definition of “probable cause”. He even gave us 2 days notice. (“Probable cause for arrest exists when facts and circumstances within the police officer’s knowledge would lead a reasonable person to believe that the suspect has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime.”) To this day I have never forgotten this definition.
He was our Law Enforcement instructor for maybe all of 3 months until Officer Gaffney took over and then finally Sargent Duke Harlow who went on to teaching the course for Roosevelt High School the next 5 years.
Yesterday I decided to try and look up the Fred Carrasco story and see exactly how Mr. Flores actually fit in and the exact details of the capturing of Carrasco. In this Texas Monthly story I finally learned why he was relegated to teaching a high school course in Law Enforcement.
Here is the section of that story that deals with David Flores. Also, here is the link to the actual story in its entirety.
“Although it was information from Weilbacher’s sources that led to Fred’s capture, the immediate publicity went to another San Antonio cop, Lieutenant Dave Flores. Flores was the one who shot Carrasco during the capture. Mayor Charles Becker took the opportunity to honor Flores with a plaque; police department wags said he should have been awarded a practice target. Flores went to see Carrasco in jail. Fred was not at first particularly receptive to the Lieutenant, but that reluctance faded when Fred realized that Flores was ready to investigate Fred’s charges against Weilbacher and Ortiz. Flores asked Fred to produce his witness. Flores lives deep in South San Antonio. It is a predominantly Mexican area, different from the west side barrio in that small pockets of white ethnic groups—Poles and other Eastern Europeans—control much of the area’s political power. From the South Side to a position of respect in downtown San Antonio is a very long road, but one Flores had decided to travel as far as it would take him. He would not be content, like Weilbacher, with reputation; Flores wanted rank. Along the way Flores had made one very powerful friend, San Antonio wheeler-dealer and land developer Morris Jaffe. Jaffe cultivated Flores and his family, let them use his lake house on weekends; and Flores returned the friendship even though Jaffe is not the sort police usually meet and greet socially. Jaffe bought the remains of Billie Sol Estes’ financial empire in 1962 for $7 million, subsequently developed uranium interests, and later promoted an immensely successful shopping center in San Antonio. But he also has had some questionable business associates. He owned an interest in the insurance firm Cohen, Kerwin, and White. Cohen has convictions for mail fraud. Kerwin, whose real name was Leroy Silverstein, had convictions for fraud and income tax evasion. Kerwin had had long associations with organized crime; and when he was murdered—executed, in all probability, by a mob enforcer—in Canada in late 1970, his briefcase contained documents disclosing various Mafia-connected swindling schemes. These have become known as the Kerwin papers. The firm Cohen, Kerwin, and White insured for $15 million an Oklahoma rancher named Mullendore who was later mysteriously murdered. Jaffe is also acquainted with Carlos Marcello, the Louisiana underworld boss whose days in power number back to the era of Huey Long. Marcello owns land not far from New Orleans that Jaffe has tried to buy. San Antonio police think that Fred sold some of his heroin to Marcello’s organization. Morris Jaffe is also very close friends with the present mayor, Charles Becker. Becker is the scion of a wealthy family whose money comes from the Handy Andy chain of grocery stores. He has never really gotten along with police since his younger days when he used to like racing his sports car around the streets of the city. Jaffe had introduced Flores to Mayor Becker. The three of them, acting independently, decided they would investigate Fred’s charges. But Fred wasn’t willing to produce his witness, the man who was supposed to implicate Ortiz and Weilbacher, without getting something in return. First he asked for safety for his family and for the witness’ family. When Flores agreed to that, Fred said that he would reveal the identity of the witness only after Flores had performed one more task. When Fred was in jail in Guadalajara his two remaining half-brothers were robbed by men who entered their homes flashing badges and claiming they were officers executing search warrants. They then proceeded to strip the two houses of all the money and drugs they could find. And they seemed to know just where to look for what they wanted, finding loot beneath stairwells and behind pipes. When Flores got a confession for those robberies from two addicts and police characters, Fred finally produced his witness, a 26-year-old narcotics peddler named Daniel Jaramillo, Flores took Jaramillo to the mayor’s house where he told his story. He said he had been riding in a car with Ruiz and Castano when another car pulled up behind them. Suddenly a shot burst through the car and killed Ruiz who was sitting in the front seat. Castano, who was driving, jumped from the car; Jaramillo jumped out on the other side, leapt a wire fence and hid in the darkness. Castano was not so fortunate, according to the story; he was shot where he lay in the middle of the road. The mysterious car circled his body and its occupants pumped him full of bullets. Jaramilio said he heard the dying Castano shout two names: Weilbacher and Ortiz. Unfortunately for Flores, Becker, and Jaffe, reporters from the Light, one of San Antonio’s two dailies, had gotten wind of the meeting and came to wait outside the mayor’s house for their story. The next morning, a Sunday, the Light ran a headline in red ink that said, “Witness Says Cops Killed 2.” The story didn’t mention the names Jaramillo said he had heard, but by Monday everyone around the courthouse and in the police department knew who had been named. Ortiz was dazed by the news. But Weilbacher did not take kindly to being paraded publicly as a murderer. The story had broken on a Sunday. Both the mayor and Flores had said the witness was in protective custody in a secret location. The investigation was proceeding, they said. The Light was calling for a swift resolution. All that lasted two days. On Tuesday Jaramillo, the secret witness, and five other men were arrested in a motel room with ten pounds of heroin. The investigation was suddenly at a halt. “Good God, that’s all we needed,” the mayor said when reporters told him about the arrest. Having composed himself, he described it as “a reversal of the highest order.” It turned out that the witness hadn’t been in protective custody at all. Since his name was never mentioned in the papers, Flores had decided to let him run free. The same day Jaramillo was arrested, Weilbacher identified himself publicly as one of the officers mentioned, proclaimed his innocence, and said he would cooperate fully with any investigative body. The next day he stood in the same room with Jaramillo, who didn’t recognize him. The grand jury, after a two-week hearing, reported there was not a “scintilla of evidence” against the two officers. It was the right verdict, but one that while clearing Weilbacher and Ortiz would condemn Flores. After the smoke cleared both Weilbacher and Flores were reassigned duties. Flores is back in uniform performing essentially clerical tasks. Weilbacher, not quite as autonomous as he was, still prowls his old territory. Becker and Jaffe continue as before. Their power is above such reversals.”