AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin firefighter who kicked in his ex-wife’s front door during an incident in March has been suspended from duty.
Firefighter Robert Garcia’s suspension will last nine days, beginning on Oct. 16 and ending on Oct. 25.
Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr made the decision, according to a memo to the city’s director of civil service, following an incident in March and Garcia’s arrest in June.
On June 23, Garcia went to a San Antonio Police Department substation to file a report on a civil matter regarding his ex-wife. While getting help from officers, he was arrested on a warrant from a disturbance reported on March 28 at the home of his ex-wife.
According to the report, his ex-wife alleged Garcia showed up to the house drunk and tried to kick the door in to get inside. His ex-wife called 911, but Garcia left before police arrived, the memo continues.
Responding officers noted damage to his ex-wife’s car and damage to the front door of the house. A warrant was issued for criminal mischief — a Class A misdemeanor — and Garcia, in the process of accepting deferred adjudication, pleaded guilty.
When interviewed by the department’s professional standards office, Garcia denied involvement in the incident, but admitted to undergoing treatment for PTSD. He then acknowledged the events may have happened, but he couldn’t say for certain.
On Sept. 1, Garcia failed to appear for a scheduled chain of command meeting and did not report to work at his station. Chief Kerr says the firefighter failed to inform his chain of command he was not going to show up. When asked why he didn’t, Garcia said he was “overcome by panic due to this investigation and was not cognizant of the time,” the memo continued.
Kerr concluded Garcia violated code of conduct rules including unauthorized leave, conduct unbecoming and failure to comply with all laws.