Visit The TRiiBE Election Center to learn more about the upcoming 2023 Chicago municipal election. Click here to find your Chicago ward and police district.

Mayoral candidate Paul Vallas’s son Gus was one of three San Antonio police officers who fatally shot a Black man who was fleeing in March 2022, a spokesperson for the campaign confirmed on Feb. 8. 

The family of the man, 28-year-old Kevin Donel Johnson Jr., told Texas Public Radio the officers shot him nine times. San Antonio police chief William McManus said at the time that all three officers shot Johnson. In a body-worn camera video the San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) released in April 2022, at least ten shots are audible.

Johnson’s sister told Texas Public Radio that officers hit Johnson, who was on a bicycle, with their patrol car at the start of the chase. The SAPD statement did not acknowledge whether this occurred.

“Currently, the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney’s Office, Civil Rights Division, is reviewing the shooting of Kevin Johnson,” a spokesperson for the District Attorney’s Office in Bexar County, which encompasses San Antonio, told The TRiiBE. 

In a statement to The TRiiBE on Feb. 8, the Vallas for Mayor campaign wrote, “The matter was the subject of a complete investigation. Gus Vallas was found not to have engaged in any violation of policy and was returned to full duty.”

Content warning: This video depicts graphic police violence

According to the SAPD, Officer Gus Vallas, who had been with the department for four years, was one of three police who began chasing Johnson because he was wanted on a warrant for parole violations and a weapons charge. In the video released by the department, the officers chased Johnson on foot until he waded across a creek and stumbled up the far embankment. 

One officer can be heard shouting, “Get down, boy!” 

As he attempted to climb the creek’s far embankment, Johnson stumbled, fell to the ground and rolled onto his back, at which point officers shouted that he had a gun in his hand and opened fire from the other side of the creek, killing him in a barrage of shots. They continued to fire after he was motionless. According to the SAPD, other officers recovered a handgun near Johnson’s body.

Ananda Tomas, the founder and executive director of ACT4SA, a San Antonio organization that advocates for police accountability, told The TRiiBE the body camera footage shows “a firing squad” that shot Johnson as he was running away. At the time of the shooting, Tomas attended protests and advocated for the release of the body-worn camera video.

“The officers involved were aggressive from the start,” Tomas said. “They clipped Kevin’s bike when they saw him. So, they already set the stage for this young man to be fearful for his life.”


Texas Public Radio reported that after the shooting, community members gathered at the scene. After officers pushed them down the street, a scuffle broke out, and Johnson’s mother was left bruised by police.

In June 2022, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) amended its foot pursuit policy as a result of the fatal shootings of 13-year-old Adam Toledo, who had dropped a gun and raised his hands when he was shot, and 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez, who was fleeing with a gun and was shot in the back. The updated policy prohibits foot chases for minor offenses or simply because someone is fleeing. It allows officers to use their discretion in cases where someone has committed or is committing a crime that poses “an obvious threat to any person.” 

When the amended policy was announced, candidate Paul Vallas was critical of it. In a tweet at the time, he wrote:

@ChiefDavidBrown unveils new policy: @Chicago_Police no longer allowed to chase people on foot “b/c they run away.” This will embolden criminals & make the city even more dangerous. We need MORE proactive policing, not less! #ChiMayor23

A screenshot of Paul Vallas's tweet.

Paul Vallas has accepted the endorsement of Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police.

Tomas said that San Antonio’s police union contract is so robust that it’s used as a rubric for police unions around the nation. “That has set up for a history of misconduct, and repeated misconduct to occur . . .  [which] can often get swept under the rug,” she said.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

is the digital news editor for The TRiiBE.