AUSTIN (KXAN) - After a plane crashed into the Echelon Building in NorthwestAustin, leaders came out quickly in reaction to the tragedy.
Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin: "It appears that today, Austin suffered a grievous attack atthe hands of a disturbed man. I strongly commend, and deeply thank,the firefighters, paramedics, police officers and others whoresponded so quickly and effectively to this despicable act. We areall grateful that for every person in our midst who would do usharm, there are thousands of honorable, well-trained Central Texansstanding ready to protect us. And we are praying for those whosuffered, and who will continue to suffer, because of this act.Local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies are workingtogether and sparing no resource investigating this attack. Wethank them deeply for their diligence and hard work. We all havequestions about how this could have happened here. There will beample time – very soon – to make sure those questionsare answered."
Congressman Lloyd Doggett released a statement on the planecrash: "Heartfelt interest in those who are suffering, thankful notmore were harmed, appreciative of our first responders, andconcerned that this is where fanaticism can lead. Like thelarger-scale tragedy in Oklahoma City, this was a cowardly act ofdomestic terrorism. Stack’s apparent website message reflectsthe steadily increasing flow of 'the government is out to get me'paranoia. That so many have already contributed to a Facebook pageas ‘fans’ of this terrorist attack on public servantsis a truly appalling expression of extremism, which Americans willoverwhelmingly reject."
Congressman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, ranking member of theHomeland Security Intelligence Subcommittee said "It's like the Ft.Hood shooting...I think when you fly an airplane into a federalbuilding. It depends how you define terrorism, but it sounds likeit to me. We have to be very careful how we balance. I think it'san issue Congress needs to look at not only protecting federalbuildings bu the American people."
"I'm very proud of the way police, fire and EMS [responded],"said Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell. "It's very admirable. Today wesuffered a tragic event in Austin. Our public safety firstresponders reacted quickly and efficiently and contained the fireas well as the incident. From the site of the crash it was apparentto me that the event could have resulted greater numbers of injuredpeople. And, while we are lucky that the injury count is low, thethoughts and prayers of our community go out to the familiesinvolved. This incident is now fully contained. This is apparentlyan isolated incident and Austinites should feel safe to go abouttheir daily lives."
"Two people went to Brackenridge, one was later transferred toBrooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio," said James Holly withAustin/Travis County EMS.
"The No. 1 fear is that it's an act of terrorism, [but] there isno cause for concern," said Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo."Terrorism task force, FAA and ATSB [were] out there. This is anisolated incident. There is no cause for alarm. We don't want tojeopardize integrity to the investigation. No cause to panic.People should go about thier lives as normal."
"There was a fairly significant fire," said Austin FireDepartment Division Chief Dawn Clopton said at 12:30 p.m.. "Thefire is contained and there [were] a few spot fires. They havesearched the first three floors. Engineers are on scene to makesure of safety. Hopefully, within the next few hours, we'll havethis fire extinguished."
"Our hope is that the days of flying aircraft into buildings areover," said Governor Rick Perry. "But you always have some exposurein a free society. The balance is finding how to protect the peopleand also protect their freedoms and liberties. Whether it'sallowing the ease of access in the state capitol. I hope we don'tturn our capitol into DFW airport or Bush international from thestandpoint of security that Texans still, and visitors still havefreedom to come and go and don't feel like they're beinginappropriately hassled. But the other side of that is we havepeople's safety. So it is always a battle between anarchy andtyranny always has been."
Perry later released a statement saying the following:
"In true Texas form, first responders and everyday citizens responded to today’s plane crash with selfless acts of heroism, securing the area, evacuating the building and controlling the fire, and are to be commended. My office continues to communicate with local, state and federal officials on this incident, which is currently an open criminal investigation. With details still emerging, it is important to refrain from speculation and let the law enforcement experts determine what exactly unfolded."
The White House said President Barack Obama was briefed aboutThursday's plane crash in Texas. Spokesman Robert Gibbs said thepresident was brifed by counterterrorism adviser John Brennanshortly before leaving the White House for a
trip to Colorado andNevada. Gibbs said the Department of Homeland Security isinvestigating all angles of the crash and its cause.
The IRS commissioner Doug Shulman released a statement regardingthe plane crash at 3:22 p.m. on Thursday:
"Like most Americans, I am shocked by the tragic events that took place in Austin this morning. This incident is of deep concern to me. We are working with law-enforcement agencies to fully investigate the events that led up to this plane crash. My thoughts and prayers go out to the dedicated employees of the IRS who work in the Austin building. We will immediately begin doing whatever we can to help them during this difficult time. While this appears to be an isolated incident, the safety of our employees is my highest priority. We will continue to do whatever is needed to ensure our employees are safe."
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The freezing and near-freezing rain that swooped into Central Texas overnight prompted numerous school closings and delays and made for a harrowing morning commute on Friday.
A man is charged with murder in the shooting death Wednesday of a woman at a North Austin auto repair shop, police said Friday.
A man is expected to survive after being stabbed in the head at the Salvation Army shelter in Downtown Austin at about 3:45 a.m. Friday.
As the Austin area prepares itself for an impending winter storm on Friday, Dec. 6, many schools have already announced delays.
With freezing temperatures pushing through the region, heating systems will likely be working overtime, which can bring rising energy bills.
Investigators are looking into an overnight fire that left one woman with third-degree burns.