Man threatened to kill children in church playground on Congress Avenue, police say


AUSTIN (KXAN) — A man has been charged with aggravated assault for allegedly threatening to kill children at a church playground in central Austin, according to an arrest affidavit.

Police received calls starting at around 4:41 p.m. on Thursday that a man wrapped in a yellow blanket, later identified as Damen Horner, 33, was standing outside the fence surrounding the playground at The Church on Congress Avenue yelling at the children.

According to the affidavit, Horner was screaming that he had a knife and was going to kill the kids.

Another caller said Horner threatened to throw a rock at him and another said he was looking into cars near Hudson Meat Market.

One of the callers, a supervisor at the church, told police she received a frantic phone call from an employee that a homeless man was threatening the children and was getting close enough that he could jump the fence.

The employee said one of the children told her, “the bad man says he has a knife.” The caller also told police she saw Horner throw a rock at someone.

When police arrived at the scene they found Horner walking south along the 1800 block of South Congress Avenue. Police say when he saw them approach he stopped walking. Because the calls claimed Horner was carrying a knife and a large rock officers ordered him to show his hands, which were under the blanket. Police say Horner refused to cooperate.

According to the affidavit, as the officer drew his Taser Horner continued to refuse commands to show his hands, but instead spread his legs which police say is usually a sign a suspect is planning to resist arrest.

When officers told Horner they would Tase him if he didn’t comply, he began to backpedal and threw down a knife and a rock the size of a grapefruit.

According to police Horner turned and ran. An officer fired their Taser at him, but it was ineffective due to the large yellow blanket.

Horner ran north along South Congress Avenue narrowly avoiding traffic. A second attempt to Tase him was also unsuccessful because he was wearing multiple layers of clothes.

Horner was eventually tackled and taken to the ground at the 1700 block of South Congress Avenue near West Annie Street.

Horner was charged with aggravated assault and evading on foot. He has been booked into the Travis County Jail, where he remains on a $35,000 bond.

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