Family: Attempt to take a selfie led to a fatal attack on a mentally ill man

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The aunt and caregiver of a 38-year-old man with schizophrenia said his passion for cars may have provoked the attack that led to his death a few days later.

Lisa Davila reported that her nephew Daniel Puente was hit on January 7 by the driver of a new Ford Bronco near the intersection of Independence Avenue and O’Connor Road on the northeast side.

“He tried to take a selfie with that Bronco in the background, but the driver of the Bronco didn’t like what he was doing, and he just punched him in the window and he fell to the ground. And he got up, as eyewitnesses say, and tried to go back across the street and fell again,” said Davila.

Daniel Puente, 38, died on January 10, three days after his aunt and guardian said he was punched while trying to take a selfie with a new Ford Bronco. (Lisa Davila)

Puente was taken to a university hospital where, according to Davila, they realized he had a cerebral hemorrhage.

“They said that he talked in the hospital, and then suddenly he began to repeat his name and repeat his address, over and over. And then his pupils were fixed and dilated,” said Davila.

However, emergency surgery failed to stop the bleeding, and Davila said the doctor told them that parts of Puente’s brain were so bruised that he would no longer be able to walk.

According to Davila, the family had previously seen the effects of a head injury on Puente’s uncle and namesake, who was in a coma for 19 months after a car accident. With this in mind, they made the difficult decision on January 8th.

“Danny’s mother was there too, and we both just cried, cried, cried. And we said, “We don’t want this for Danny, and we want to take everything off him and just let him go in peace,” Davila said.

After Puente died on January 10, the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Bureau ruled his death a homicide due to blunt force trauma.

KSAT attempted to corroborate the details in Davila’s report on the alleged attack at the San Antonio Police Department on Friday. However, a spokesman said the department could not comment on the case, except that it was an active investigation assigned to the Homicide Squad.

The SAPD’s initial incident report states that police were sent to the office at the intersection, where they found Puente’s lip bleeding with a bump on the back of his head. The officer reported that Puente was “very drunk and couldn’t tell us what happened.”

Several callers said that Puente had been attacked or hit by a car, but the officer found no sign of being hit by a car. The cashier told police that she saw Puente talking to a man outside, but saw no attack or escape.

The responding officer wrote that Puente may have been attacked or fallen “due to intoxication”.

Davila, however, believes that any signs of “intoxication” were due to the brain hemorrhage that was later discovered, and points to a marked difference in his behavior captured on surveillance video.

Video from a nearby store shows Puente, who lived in a nearby RV park, casually walking through the parking lot to the corner store at 1:45 p.m.

Although Puente is seen to be limping, Dávila said it was due to a knee injury and otherwise thought he was walking normally.

But when Puente reappears on screen 17 minutes later at 2:02 p.m., he appears to be rocking from side to side as he slowly moves away from the store and the San Antonio fire and police officers who have arrived on the scene.

“He is stunning. It’s 2 pm now,” Davila said.

Davila had a message for those who attacked her nephew.

“Maybe you don’t even know what happened,” she said. “But Danny was loved by a lot of people, and he had a life, and it was taken from him too soon. And please, if you see this, give up. Please.

Copyright 2023 by KSAT – All rights reserved.

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