San Antonio man guns down adoptive parents outside apartment, police say

SAN ANTONIO — A San Antonio man is in police custody after authorities allege he fatally shot his adoptive mother and father, both beloved Houston-area educators, outside his apartment on Sunday.

Michael Vincent Burger, 20, is charged with capital murder involving multiple victims, according to Bexar County court records. Spring Branch Independent School District officials identified Burger’s parents as William Burger and Noreen Burger.

Noreen Burger, 58, worked for the school district for 25 years before retiring in 2020, district officials told the Houston Chronicle. She still served as a substitute teacher when needed.

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Bill Burger had worked for the district for more than 30 years, the past 11 as assistant director of Cornerstone Academy. The school’s director announced the deaths in an email to parents on Monday, at which time the couple had not been positively identified.

Online records with the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office indicate that the victims’ identities have since been confirmed.

“It is with a heavy heart I share that we are aware of news coming out of San Antonio with unconfirmed reports that point to the tragic death of our beloved Bill Burger and his wife, Noreen,” director Angel Purdy wrote in the email. “This is the most difficult news to share, and we know for you to learn.”

Purdy wrote that school administrators were “filled with sorrow” over the killings.

“As always, our Cornerstone family and our Spring Branch family will rally around us and our entire community during this difficult time,” the email read.

Students at the school held a vigil in Bill Burger’s honor.

“Mr. Burger was the guy you could go to if anything was going wrong in your life,” Ian Stalnaker, an eighth grader, told KPRC in Houston. “You could always talk to him, count on him to be there and make those jokes.”

San Antonio police Chief William McManus said that a patrol officer working a traffic accident in the area of the 3800 block of Parkdale Street on Sunday heard several gunshots come from the Park at Colonnade Apartments. Multiple residents of the apartment complex also called 911 to report the shots.

When the officer entered the complex, he saw Bill and Noreen Burger lying dead on the ground. One victim was near the apartment door and the other was directly in front of the unit, the chief explained.

“He notices an individual who was holding an AR (assault rifle) and a shotgun,” McManus said. “(The gunman) ducked between two vehicles and the officer back off a little bit.”

When the gunman, who was later identified as Michael Burger, popped his head up from his hiding spot, the officer fired several rounds in his direction.

“None of them took effect. At that point, he gave up,” the chief said. “He is now in custody.”

At the scene, McManus said it appeared that the shooting was the result of a domestic situation. Multiple shell casings were found on the porch of the apartment.

Listen to Chief William McManus speak about Sunday’s shooting below.

The motive for the shooting was unclear.

“I couldn’t even imagine what was going through his head, why he took his parents’ life or why he gave up,” the chief said at the scene. “I don’t know.”

Friends mourned the couple on social media, where former colleague Charles Barnhouse wrote that it was “hard to wrap (his) mind around the loss.”

“They were both the life of the party and were always there to lend a helping hand,” Barnhouse wrote on Facebook.

He offered his condolences to the Burger family and wrote a message to his own loved ones.

“Please take care of each other,” Barnhouse pleaded. “If someone you love is struggling, please get them help!”

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Residents in the couple’s Houston neighborhood expressed disbelief over the deaths of the Burgers, who neighbors said adopted Michael Burger two decades ago.

“I remember around 20 years ago or so, they were going to adopt him and they were really excited,” neighbor Charlotte Green told KPRC. “Never, ever would think something like that (would happen), ever.”

The couple, who Green described as “the nicest people,” sent their son to college. Green said Michael Burger was in school in San Antonio at the time of the double homicide and that his parents may have gone for a visit.

“They’re going to be greatly missed,” Green said. “They were like the bright light in our neighborhood.”

Court records show that Michael Green’s bail has been set at $500,000.

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