Austin police footage of deadly lawn care standoff that ended with man’s death released

Crime

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Two weeks ago, a visit for lawn care from the City of Austin to a man’s home ended in a daylong series of events: gunfire, a house fire, and finally, the shooting death of the resident by Austin police.

Now, Austin Police Department is set to release more information about what exactly happened and how it all led to 56 year-old Robert Bruce Richart’s death — including 911 caller audio and body-worn camera video of the incident.

On Wednesday, APD Chief Joseph Chacon released the names of the officers who were involved: Officer Eric Strnad and Officer Brandon Stewart. Chacon said Strnade has been placed on administrative leave, per APD protocol.

Morning lawn care visit turned deadly

The incident began around 9:15 a.m. Oct. 27, when the Austin Code Department and APD officers visited the resident at his home on Pinkney Lane in southwest Austin to cut his overgrown lawn.

But the visit escalated after the resident began firing from inside his home. After hours of de-escalation tactics, crisis negotiators and mental health officers, a fire started inside the home.

After 3 p.m., officers say he started firing again as flames engulfed the home.

Despite attempts to get him out of the home, police say he exited from his garage with weapons in hand, prompting an APD SWAT officer to shoot and hit him. He was taken to the hospital, but later died.

“The Odd House”

Neighbors say they were shocked by the events, but had had questions about the home for years.

“I thought it was deserted for years,” neighbor Brent Mayberry told KXAN. “Until walking by… you hear music one day. And it’s like, ‘Wow. That’s kind of odd.’ It’s just a house that’s been a mystery to everybody in the neighborhood as long as I’ve been here.”

Investigations

APD will launch two investigations into the incident.

Chacon explained Wednesday that in addition to a criminal investigation, an administrative investigation conducted by the APD Internal Affairs Unit with the Office of Police Oversight, which is independent from APD.

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