AUSTIN (KXAN) — As detectives worked to collect the last bits of evidence in large brown bags Monday morning, neighbors of the southeast Austin man involved in a shooting involving Austin police gathered at the edge of lingering crime scene tape, speculating on what had happened the night before.
Some pulled out pictures they had taken of their neighbors being handcuffed and put in police cruisers, many of whom were released and allowed back into their homes.
Police say one man, who hasn’t been identified publically yet, opened fire at two Austin police officers who entered his home through the front door during a welfare check. Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon said officers backed out of the house until the man started firing at them in the neighborhood.
Both officers fired back. One was hit and transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Right across the street from where the shooting started, a family said they were watching television when they started hearing shots. One came through the family’s window, shattering items on a cabinet just inside.
The neighbors asked us not to use their names but told KXAN one of the men inside grabbed a shotgun and went to the front porch. When he heard someone in his garage he started yelling at them not to move. That person, according to neighbors and radio traffic, turned out to be an injured Austin police officer.
“There was somebody in the garage and we didn’t know who it was. I thought it was the shooter…and so I told the guy in the garage ‘don’t move.’ And it turned out he was the wounded police officer,” he said.
Radio traffic pulled from Broadcastify includes what seems to be that same officer trying to get dispatch to communicate the situation with the homeowner, who later went inside as additional law enforcement started to show up.
“Tell the homeowner there’s a f—— cop in his garage. My gun is in the driveway so I can’t get to it without exposing myself,” he can be heard saying on his radio.
After that, the neighbor says he and his wife were put in handcuffs and in the back of patrol units where they waited to figure out what had happened. In the meantime, SWAT had blown down the couple’s door and entered their home, Ring camera video provided to KXAN shows.
“We kept telling the police that we didn’t do anything. We were just the victims here,” he said.
The confusion of which house contained the suspect can also be heard in radio traffic as several times arriving officers asked for clarification on where they needed to be.
“You’re taking people out of the wrong house. It’s the house directly behind you that he received shots from, not the house that you’re at,” an officer says on the radio.
Just before midnight, police say they arrested the man they believe actually shot at officers. He was taken to the hospital with unknown injuries. Charges have not been announced for him.
Neighbors say the man rarely leaves his home, except to take out his trash, and that it’s not the first time police have shown up to do a welfare check.
“This time … it went all wrong.”
Investigative Producer Dalton Huey contributed to this report.