AUSTIN (KXAN) - Before sundown just a few streets away from South Congress, James Shaw is going door to door dropping something off he carries on his own key ring.
"They last for about 45 minutes if you spray them on someone," said Shaw. "It closes up their mucus membrane so they can't really breathe or see."
He is hoping to hand out 40 free cans of pepper spray in an hour and then head back to work at a software consulting company.
"I've always wanted to help women protect themselves. I hate that idea of people getting raped or attacked," said Shaw.
Thursday, he crossed paths with Tamara Valdez who was walking down the street. She wanted one for herself and a friend.
"I'm hoping they don't get to use it, but it's good to have," Shaw told her.
"Yeah, it is good to have. It's great! Thanks so much," said Valdez.
It is a labor of love Shaw started last summer while visiting college campuses with his daughter.
"I noticed there were thousands of girls away from home for the first time you know in strange surroundings," said Shaw.
Since then, his personal mission has grown into a non-profit called the Resist Attack Foundation . The group's Facebook and Twitter pages have helped spread the word about their work. Sponsors and donations cover the free pepper spray now being handed out in a number of cities. With help from several volunteers, the group has given away 4,000 cans.
"We hope to give one away to every woman in America," said Shaw. "So we've got a long way to go."
The group does not just show up in an area after an attack. They pass out pepper spray at spots around town such as the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail. Resist Attack also offers educational courses to women such as self defense classes.
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.
It's the first criminal charge following a yearlong criminal investigation into the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.
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.