Austin police say 3 homicides that happened within past week most likely ‘robberies gone bad’

Crime

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin police provided updates to three homicide investigations characterized as ‘robberies gone bad’ that happened within the last week. Right now, there’s no indication the crimes are related, but police said it’s still early in the investigations.

Sgt. Jesse Sanchez with the homicide unit held a news conference Thursday afternoon to discuss the following incidents:

  • Jan. 29, 1126 Mearns Meadow
  • Feb. 2, 6103 Manor Road
  • Feb. 3, 2201 Willow Creek

Mearns Meadow

The Austin Police Department began investigating a deadly shooting in the 1100 block of Mearns Meadow Boulevard near Quail Creek Neighborhood Park and Rutland Drive last Friday night.

When officers arrived, they found an unresponsive victim, who Sgt. Sanchez identified Thursday as Jose Franklin Rodriguez, sitting inside a vehicle with an apparent gunshot wound. Despite life-saving measures by Austin-Travis County EMS, Rodriguez was ultimately pronounced dead at 9:23 p.m.

Witnesses said right before the incident, they heard an argument and saw a struggle inside the victim’s vehicle. Then, they told officers they heard several gunshots and saw several people fleeing from the scene into another car. It’s believed the motive for the murder was robbery.

Police are looking for a tan or silver four-door sedan, possibly a Toyota or an Infiniti, which witnesses saw leaving the location. Right now, there’s no description of the suspect or suspects, but police believe they may have been wearing wigs.

Manor Road

One man is dead after neighbors at an east Austin apartment complex reported hearing multiple gunshots Tuesday evening. The shooting took place at the Villas at Mueller apartment complex on Manor Road near Wheless Lane at about 7:48 p.m., police said.

Austin police arrived and found an unresponsive man face down on the ground with an “obvious” gunshot wound — a man in his 50s.

Medics with Austin-Travis County EMS tried to save his life, but he was pronounced dead at the scene at 8:16 p.m. Sgt. Sanchez identified the victim on Thursday as Raymond Carl Young.

Austin police said they believe the shooting was isolated and do not think the public is in any danger. Sgt. Sanchez said witnesses reported seeing a man running from the area and shooting at the same time, but police haven’t been able to confirm that yet.

They believe the motive for this murder was also robbery involving some type of drug.

Willow Creek

Police began a “suspicious death” investigation after they found a man who appeared to be shot inside a crashed vehicle in the 2200 block of Willow Creek Drive, which is near Oltorf Street and Pleasant Valley Road. The man was pronounced dead at the scene at 11:17 a.m., Sgt. Sanchez said.

APD received an initial report of two men involved in an altercation with a weapon around 11:09 a.m. Wednesday. Neighbors who also heard all of the commotion said when they ran outside, the wheels were still spinning on the lime green car smashed up against a wall.

“They found witnesses that reported that they saw approximately two or three persons running from the area of that vehicle following the shots fired,” Sgt. Sanchez said.

Witnesses also told police they saw a blue SUV with multiple people inside leaving the area in a hurry at the time of the incident. That blue SUV was identified in at least two robberies that happened earlier that morning before the homicide. Sgt. Sanchez said those incidents might involve the same car and/or suspects, but that’s still under investigation.

Sgt. Sanchez did not identify the victim in this case.

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