A rifleman firing from a motor home into a huge crowd at a downtown parade killed two women and wounded at least 44 other persons today, police said. The sniper was found dead in the motor home after a half-hour exchange of gunfire with police.
The sniper was identified as Ira Attebury, 64, by police Inspector Marion Talbert, who told reporters Attebury had an arsenal of weapons and "enough ammunition to start a war."
"It is obvious he came to the parade with the plan designed to do what he did," Police Chief Emil Peters said.
Peters said 4,000 to 5,000 people were within range of the gunman when the firing began about 1 p.m.
One witness, Judy Gutierrez, told police she heard the man at one time yell, "Traitors! Traitors! Traitors!" before shooting and wounding a police officer.
The wounded - six policemen and 38 civilians - were taken to five city hospitals. Authorities said most of the wounds were superficial.
Tom Mueller, an exchange student from Dusseldorf, West Germany, was on a parade float with eight other teen-agers when a policeman standing "not three yards away" was shot in the leg.
"We all laid down. At first there was no panic. I heard the bullets whistling over my head," said Mueller, 18. "It was just horrible. You can't just imagine what it was like. Oh, my God, it was horrible."
The Battle of Flowers parade, part of San Antonio's annual Fiesta Week, had drawn an estimated 300,000 people. It later was canceled.
Peters said officers on parade duty quickly surrounded the motor home and opened fire. He said shooting between police and the gunman, starting just after 1 p.m. CST, lasted about half an hour.
Peters said the incident ended at 2:15, following a period in which no shots were fired by either side. Police waited 45 minutes to move in because they thought the man might have hostages, Peters said.
Just before they stormed the motor home, officers lobbed tear gas at it, Peters said. They found the gunman dead inside.
Asked if the man killed himself, Peters said, "That isn't for certain. It looks like one of the wounds was self-inflicted, behind his right ear."
Frank Campa, a parade watcher standing across the street, said he saw the gunman open the side door of the motor home and fire. He said the man was struck by a spray of pellets, possibly from a police shotgun.
Peters said an officer shot the gunman as he entered the motor home after the tear gas was released, but added, "I assume he was dead when he [the officer] went in.I suspect he was killed before they put the tear gas in there."
Peters said two female spectators were killed by the gunman. Their bodies were found just a few yards from the motor home. Police identified one as Amalia Castillo, 48.
Castitified by her family as Amalia Castillo, 48.
Castillo's daughter, Joanna Campos, said her mother was there with two of her younger children and a grandchild. Castillo's children, ages 8 and 11, were wounded.
Talbert said that when he entered the motor home, he saw "at least six rifles lined up on the back of the seats."
"He had enough ammunition to start a war," Talbert said. "He came prepared to stay awhile. I saw a lot of loaded clips in there." CAPTION: Picture 1, With blood streaming down her face, Diane Wicks comforts nephew Timmy Lapping during the attack. AP; Picture 2, Policeman rushes child to safety as parade spectators take cover after gunman began firing into crowd.