AUSTIN (KXAN) — As the trial begins Tuesday for the man accused in the June 2021 mass shooting on Sixth Street, the city continues work on a safety initiative launched in response to the event.

Police believe De’ondre White opened fire into crowds following some kind of confrontation between two groups, killing one person and injuring more than a dozen others.

“My heart goes out to the family of the gentleman who passed away,” District 9 Council Member Zo Qadri said. “If you go out for a night of fun and enjoyment with friends and family, you should be able to come home at the end of the night, and that wasn’t the case with this.”

According to court records, White and a group of friends drove to Sixth Street from Killeen when they encountered a rival group of men they knew from Killeen. Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza said prosecutors believe De’Ondre White was the only shooter.

Police said the victim, Douglas Kantor, was an innocent bystander.

In response to the shooting, former Council Member Kathie Tovo launched the Safer Sixth Street initiative. It passed in March 2022.

Since then, the city has, among other things:

  • Installed additional HALO cameras in the entertainment district
  • Created a critical incident training program for bars
  • Established a first responder staging area
  • Improved street lighting

In a June update on the project, the city noted “law enforcement and policing are critically important for a safe Sixth Street… but policing along isn’t sufficient,” so the main focus now is on public space design, bar operator partnerships and diverse downtown activities.

“Making 6th street safer, more accessible, more family friendly,” Qadri said. “I think that will help a lot with revitalizing the area.”

According to the latest update, the city is still exploring ways to improve the streetscape to discourage late-night crowds from congregating in the middle of the street.

According to agenda documents, Austin City Council is set to approve adopting the 2024 East Sixth Street Public Improvement District Services and Assessment plan, which includes about $85,000 in funding, 40% of which will go towards the following public safety factors.

  • Coordinating with APD and SXSW to address “negative impacts from festival crowds”
  • Researching best practices on addressing panhandling
  • Monitoring special events, barricade plans
  • Coordinating with the Downtown Austin Alliance on safety partnerships
  • Addressing crowd control during festivals