AUSTIN (KXAN) — A 9-year-old girl walking with her mom was shot Monday, an innocent victim in a road rage shooting off Wickersham Lane in east Austin, police say. A man is in custody, according to the Austin Police Department.
APD said the call came in just before 1:30 p.m. Monday for 1515 Wickersham Lane — the address for the Collective on Riverside apartments.
LaMichael Jamion Stewart, 23, was arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and one count of aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury. His bond is set at $300,000 total for the three charges, according to online jail records.
An arrest affidavit said Stewart shot at another man after they both parked. The man who was shot at told police Stewart may have felt he was following him too closely. When interviewed by police later in the day, police say Stewart told them he thought the other driver was going too fast and almost hit his car.
After Stewart got out of his car, the two exchanged words but the other man didn’t get out of his car. Once the man tried to leave, he told police he heard four gunshots, and the back windshield of his car shattered as he drove off.
The affidavit said one of the shots hit the young girl who was about 200 yards away. She was walking with her mom in a nearby parking lot. The girl was taken to the hospital with injuries potentially life-threatening, medics said.
The investigation is still ongoing, APD said.
KXAN has reached out to an attorney who is representing Stewart in other cases to get a comment on this most recent arrest. We will update this story if we hear back.
Austin Police Association reacts to shooting
Austin Police Association president Ken Casaday is using this incident to push back against police reform, tweeting about it on Monday.
“Horrible, just adds on to the gun violence that we’ve been having here in Austin,” he said.
Casaday said the latest incident indicates why we need more police officers on the street.
“I don’t care what anybody says — we have been defunded, you know, not by things people can see every day but by not having police academy classes,” he said.
On Friday, Austin City Council gave the green light to restart cadet classes next month. It would be the first one in nearly a year.
It also comes with curriculum updates, eight more weeks of training and more anti-racism courses.
“It’s not just about responding to a 911 call as fast as we can — we need to respond to those calls, but it’s also about preventing a 911 call in the first place,” said Austin City Council member Greg Casar.
He agrees police are an important part of fighting crime but said the city needs to do more, like invest in de-escalation groups, mental health services, medics and counselors.
“I don’t buy into this whole sort of ‘Armageddon’ scenario that sometimes gets painted when what we’re really trying to do is say, ‘Can we address public safety and civil rights?’ And we should be committed to both of those things,” he said.