AUSTIN (KXAN) - Austin police have been working to clean up the Walnut Creek Apartments following the police shooting that killed Nathaniel Sanders, 18, in May 2009.
Since then, they have pumped extra resources into the area to monitor it better -- including stationing a mobile unit inside the complex for weeks. Officers took position inside the substation 24 hours a day for nearly two weeks.
It was part of the department's Operation Give it Back, an effort to return the neighborhood to the residents and push out the criminal element.
At the time, the police station on wheels cut crime in half at the apartment complex -- known for gang activity, drug deals, a deadly police shooting and now a homicide.
Residents said they began to feel safe, and police said Friday they have not been called to the complex for any serious crimes since that incident.
"As of late, there have not been any problems and not a large number of calls compared to other places," said Sgt. Scott Perry.
Still, Friday morning's deadly shooting has stirred up the community once again.
And statistics from APD's Crime Index website indicate that violent- and property crimes are still a problem.
Crime numbers since this time last year
- 15 assaults
- 11 thefts
- 10 burglaries
- 1 rape
Meanwhile, police continue to investigate the deadly shooting that happened around 1:40 a.m. Friday in the same apartment complex.
Gerrell Earls, 18, was reportedly there visiting an aunt and cousin when he was shot to death.
Most of the Walnut Creek Apartments complex off Springdale Road in East Austin was sealed off early Friday morning by police tape as officers tried to piece together what led up to the killing. Police towed a 2005 Buick sedan from the scene, but it is not publicly known how it is related to the incident.
Witnesses told police they saw several people running from the parking lot.
EMS crews tried to save Earls, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Earls' children are 4- and 2 years old. The 2-year-old celebrates her birthday Friday -- now the same day that marks her father's killing.
Meanwhile, Washington said Earls has been in trouble with the law before, though the extent of that is unclear at this time.
Back in May 2009, Sanders was shot and killed by officer Leonardo Quintana at the same apartment complex.
Sanders was asleep in the backseat of a station wagon being driven by Michael Franklin. Another man, Sir Lawrence Smith, was also asleep in the car, but in the passenger seat.
Franklin drove into the Walnut Creek Apartments complex with the alleged intention to drop off Sanders and Smith. Franklin then noticed the cop car following him into the complex.
Police have said they were investigating a report of a suspicious vehicle, specifically that the station wagon matched the description given by local residents of a car that was involved in some shooting incidents over the weekend.
Franklin got out of the car, and Quintana approached and detained him. At that time, Quintana tried to wake up Sanders in the backseat.
Quintana and police officials said Sanders reached for a gun while he tried to wake him, thus forcing Quintana to respond with lethal force.
Anyone with information is asked to call police.
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