by BRAD ROLLINS
Hours before 20-year-old Francisco Sierra was fatally shot in the head Friday morning, San Marcos police were dispatched to check on his welfare at the request of a crisis hotline operator concerned about his mental health.
At about 5:30 a.m. Feb. 5, police responded to Sierra’s ground-floor apartment in the Villagio development on Aquarena Springs Drive near Texas State University, assistant police chief Bob Klett said this afternoon in a press conference.
After determining that Sierra was not a danger to himself or others, officers left him at his home in the care of a friend, Klett said. The assistant chief said he did not immediately know specifics of officers’ interactions with Sierra this morning.
At 8 a.m., one of Sierra’s roommates — the man now charged with his murder — called police and said he found Sierra dead in his bedroom. The roommate was arrested this afternoon and charged with murder, a first-degree felony, but Klett declined to identify the suspect until he is formally arraigned on Saturday morning.
Interviewed by investigators this morning at police headquarters, Klett said, the roommate admitted to killing Sierra, who was enrolled as an undergraduate at Texas State as recently as last semester but is not currently a student.
Sierra moved into the the apartment on Feb. 1 and was killed less than week later, a day after his birthday, said Klett, who declined to characterize the relationship between the victim and the suspect. Sierra previously lived in Mesquite, a suburb east of Dallas, Klett said.
“At this point, I don’t want to get into motive. He confessed to the murder, but certainly there’s alot more … We’re still trying to tie everything together. We’re very early in an active, ongoing investigation,” Klett said.
Before calling police, the suspect disposed of the murder weapon in a body of water, said Klett, who declined to say where investigators expect to find the gun before it is recovered. A Texas Department of Public Safety dive team, already in town for a training exercise, was preparing this afternoon to search for the murder weapon, Klett said.
Two other roommates and a friend who stayed the night at the Villagio apartment told police they did not hear the fatal shot.
Sierra’s homicide is the first in San Marcos this year. Police continue to work aggressively on their investigation into the Dec. 6 murder of 20-year-old Texas State student Jonathan Gage, who was killed during a home invasion robbery at the Retreat apartment development on Old Ranch Road 12.