MANDEVILLE, La. -- Andrew Bice was supposed to show up Monday for his shift at the Autorama Carwash and Tire Shop in Mandeville, but he never arrived.
His boss didn’t think anything about it, though. It wasn’t unlike him during the year or so he’d worked there, and it wasn’t surprising since the owners suspected he’d stolen a few ATV’s last week.
“He was a hard worker but a little erratic” about showing up, Don Sommers, who owns the carwash and auto dealer, said Saturday.
The next time Sommers heard about Bice was through a news report. The 34-year-old man was dead after shooting himself following an exchange of gunfire with San Antonio police officers, one of who was killed and another who was injured.
“I was shocked,” Sommers said. “We were pretty sure he was on the run because he had stolen a couple four-wheelers from us a couple days before.”
“I never thought he would’ve done something like this,” Shelia Landry, who said she was Bice’s fiance, told WWL-TV. “He was a great person, joyful, spirited, loved children. I know he had bad charges, but that wasn’t the man that he was.”
Bice had a lengthy criminal record in St. Tammany Parish, as well as a record in Texas.
St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office records show he was most recently arrested Jan. 20 on a cruelty to juvenile charge. That was among more than 30 charges he was booked on in the parish in a nine-year period.
Other arrests were:
- Aug. 7, 2008: disturbing the peace, resisting an officer, simple criminal damage to property (two charges), second-degree kidnapping, aggravated criminal damage, simple burglary, contempt of court
- March 23, 2009: contempt of court, simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling
- July 1, 2009: aggravated criminal damage, contempt of court, simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling, second-degree kidnapping, simple criminal damage to property, unauthorized entry to an inhabited dwelling
- March 15, 2015: operating a vehicle while intoxicated, improper lane use, driving under suspension, no proof of insurance and expired license plate
- Oct. 9, 2015: probation violation
- Dec. 28, 2015: second-degree kidnapping, aggravated criminal damage and simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling
- Sept. 13, 2016: improper lane use, no driver's license on person, aggravated flight from an officer
- Nov. 21, 2016: hit and run
- Jan. 20, 2017: cruelty to a juvenile
St. Tammany court records indicate he pleaded guilty to most charges he was arrested on, while prosecutors dropped a handful.
Bice pleaded guilty to three charges in Bexar County, Texas. His first guilty plea was in October 2003 for a charge of assault causing bodily injury to a family member.
He pleaded guilty in August 2005 to a charge of evading arrest. Bice also pleaded guilty in January 2007 to a charge of possession of a controlled substance between 1 and 4 grams.
It was about 3:15 p.m. Thursday when San Antonio police officers Miguel Moreno and Julio Cavazos stopped Bice and another man to check their IDs while on a patrol focused on preventing auto burglaries.
Police said Bice’s attack appeared to be random.
Bice shot Moreno in the head and Cavazos in the chin. Cavazos was able to drag Moreno to safety and shot back, hitting Bice in the buttocks.
Bice hobbled away and he shot himself in the head. He died a little after 5 p.m.
Bice's mother, Terri Lopez, told a San Antonio TV station Bice had a drug problem and said she last spoke with him Tuesday morning before he disappeared.
“Something spooked him to make him leave,” Lopez told reporters, adding that her husband told him some guns had gone missing from their home. “I thought he took those to sell for cash.”
Lopez also told the TV station Landry was not engaged to her son and claimed he filed a restraining order against Landry. Lopez could not immediately be contacted Saturday by WWL-TV, which could find no such restraining order.
She later sent WWL-TV a statement that read in part, "Much has been written about Andrew's past and there is no denying that Andrew was a tortured soul; tortured by addictions and mental illness. Years of incarceration without the benefit of rehabilitation created a sad, lonely, depressed individual who became ... unable to cope with life on the outside.
"Even though he'll be remembered as a killer; in our hearts, he'll always be remembered as a funny, goofy, thoughtful, and sensitive brother, son, grandson and friend," the statement continued. "Andrew was always happy to help someone in need, never questioning what was in it for him."
Lopez, who declined to speak to WWL-TV, concluded her statement saying her family sends it condolences to the families of the officers and is praying for Cavazos' recovery.
"I'm at a loss for words to describe what a tragedy this is," San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said during a Friday morning press conference. "Imagine one of your relatives was shot and killed on the street for apparently no reason."
Cavazos remained in the Intensive Care Unit Saturday, according to Sgt. Jesse Salame, a San Antonio Police Department spokesman. “He has a long recovery ahead of him.”
Landry, meanwhile, said she was sorry for the officer’s relatives and was grieving like they are.
“I don’t know why he did this. Maybe he felt scared to go back to jail,” she said. “I just wish he would’ve reached out to me first.”