Austin police investigating 2 weekend homicides: Neighbors concerned about rising crime

Crime

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin police are investigating two homicides that happened early Sunday morning.

At around 2:20 a.m., police responded to a call about shots fired in the parking lot of the El Nocturno Night Club at 7601 North Lamar Blvd in central Austin.

When officers arrived, they found a man who had been shot several times. He died as a result of his injuries.

Witnesses told police they heard an argument in the parking lot before shots were fired.

Investigators will look through surveillance video to try and figure out what led up to the shooting. They have not arrested anyone in connection to the shooting, but believe they have a person of interest.

Man stabbed to death on early Sunday on 6th Street, (KXAN Photo/Frank Martinez)

At around the same time, at 2:26 a.m. Sunday, police responded to a call about a stabbing on West 6th Street and Nueces Street in downtown Austin.

Police found a man who had been stabbed multiple times. He was taken to the hospital where he later died.

Austin is now at 60 homicides for 2021, marking a significant rise from previous years — there were 48 homicides in Austin in 2020, 38 in 2019 and 35 in 2018.

Austin’s homicide rate continues to climb making this one of the deadliest recent years, before the year even ends.

The KXAN team has been keeping track of all of the homicides, comparing them over the years.

It started out like any other peaceful Sunday morning for Brian Jackson.

“I went on a walk at about 5:30 this morning, and I could tell something was happening because I could see the lights rebounding off the homes,” Jackson said.

He said he witnessed the end of a homicide clean up, less than five minutes away from his home near North Lamar.

“There was a body on the ground,” Jackson said. “The increase in violent crimes and homicides that seem to be so random are the most concerning part.”

“Do I feel safe?” another neighbor in the Lamar area, Joseph Fleming asked, hesitantly.

Both Fleming and Jackson want to see a change.

“It used to be a quiet neighborhood,” Fleming said.

Travis County District Attorney, José Garza said on Wednesday, homicides are becoming more of a problem, nationwide. He mentioned data from 2020 shows they went up by 25 percent.

“This increase occurred, even as the overall crime rate dropped,” Garza said. “The increase in violence was concentrated among communities that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Garza said they’re actively investigating crimes—indicting over 500 people just this year. That’s why Garza is launching an economic justice enforcement.

“If we are serious about reversing this trend of increasing homicides, we also have to address the root causes of instability in our communities,” Garza said.

Jackson, who is raising a small child with his wife, just wants to make sure he can keep his family safe.

“It’s kind of a mounting concern that is brewing back there, that takes up more and more thought,” Jackson said.  

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