Deadly East Austin crash now considered a homicide

AUSTIN (KXAN) -- Austin police say what initially appeared to be a fatal car crash in East Austin is now being investigated as the city's second homicide of the year.

On Tuesday morning, police responded to a crash in the 4600 block of Springdale Road. When officers arrived, a white van that had crashed into a tree was on fire and the driver was still in the vehicle. Officers tried to pull the driver, 43-year-old Carlos Swist, out of the vehicle but he died at the scene.

An autopsy the next day revealed Swist died from a gunshot wound. Police are not sure if Swist knew the killer but do believe the two had an encounter that led to the shooting. They call it an isolated incident with no continuing threat to the public.  APD Lt. Justin Newsom says, "We do have a lead we're following up on right now but we're not ready to talk about who that suspect is yet, but we do have some leads. There was some forensic evidence that was gathered that's being analyzed so hopefully by next week we will be able to talk more about it."

Family members say while Swist made some mistakes in his past: in 2005, he pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to five years in prison, he was also convicted of aggravated kidnapping in 2010. Swist's family said he had turned his life around. They say he deeply loved his 4-year-old daughter.

"He didn't deserve that and no one really knows what all went on," said Clyneisha Reed, one of Swist's cousins on the day of his death. "And we're hearing different things, and we don't really know what to believe."

Swist worked for an Austin florist, and was driving a company car at the time of the crash.

Anyone with any information regarding this incident to call the Homicide Tip Line at 512-477-3588 or Crime Stoppers at 512-472-TIPS or text "Tip 103" + your message to CRIMES.

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