AUSTIN (KXAN) - It was a clear, quiet morning Thursday, Feb. 18, when a smallplane slammed into the Echelon Building, intent on mass death anddestruction.
Who did it? Why? First responders got these answers thanks tothe efforts of two local law officers working miles away from
The Fusion Center, seeded with HomelandSecurity money, collaborates the effort and information oflocal, state and federal authorities. Austin's Fusion Center is yetto be fully operational, but last February it played a criticalrole in the rescues at the Echelon Building.
On Thursday Austin Police Department Lt. Mark Spangler and TexasDepartment of Public Safety Officer Patricia Nunez were honored bythe Department of Homeland Security with certificates ofappreciation for their efforts coordinating the response.
"As the information was coming in, Mark and I were going backand forth sharing information, pull it all together and send it tothe agencies that needed it," Nunez said.
Two people died that day: suicide pilot Joe Stack, disgruntledwith the IRS, and IRS manager Vernon Hunter. Others were seriouslyhurt but were pulled to survival.
The Austin Fusion Center hopes to be fully operational bywinter.
"Whether its serial crime or any ongoing criminal activity,we'll be able to make a regional assessment with other lawenforcement agencies that are helping us," Spangler promised.
Homeland Security is establishing several Fusion Centers aroundthe country, with the intent to thwart crime and terroristactivities.
A teacher from Austin was shot and killed while jogging in Benghazi, Libyan officials confirmed Thursday.
Winter is invading Texas with a vengeance as snow, sleet and ice are unleashed on much of northern and western sections of the state.
Several organizations on Thursday called for an end to the use of stun guns in schools, saying the incident Cedar Creek High School last month shows the dangers of such devices.
The expected winter weather has delayed initial construction work on MoPac until the rain and cold temperatures pass through.
Family and friends held a vigil Wednesday at the State Capitol in hopes that a Bastrop man can win a new trial.
A bitterly cold arctic air mass in place over Texas is breaking temperature records, and will be followed by a dangerous, potentially damaging ice storm.