WEEKEND READ: 6th street safety back in headlines after ‘gun battle’ involving APD leaves teen dead

Crime
An APD barrier on 6th Street

A 17-year-old is dead after a “gun battle” Friday involving two groups and Austin Police officers (KXAN photo/Frank Martinez)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Only a few days after City of Austin departments gave updates to city council on their efforts to increase the safety of 6th Street, a 17-year-old is dead after what Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon called a ‘gun battle.”

According to Chacon, APD officers were at the scene of a DWI when they heard gunshots in downtown overnight.

When they arrived on scene, the officers say two groups of people were shooting at each other. One of the officers fired their weapon, Chacon said, and the suspects ran. It’s not clear if the officer shot anyone.

A 17-year-old Black male with a gunshot wound was taken to a local hospital. APD confirmed on Saturday morning that he died from his injuries.

Only a few days earlier, the Austin Police Department and development services director sent a memo to city council and the mayor updating them on efforts to make 6th Street safer, as is required after council passed a resolution demanding more be done to curb violence in that section of downtown.

Those updates include efforts to make lighting better on 6th Street, curb underage drinking and look at the potential for a permanent EMS presence to treat people who are injured in the area quickly.

Texas abortion law still making headlines

It’s been a volatile 72 hours for Texas’ abortion law, which, as of Saturday morning, is in effect.

Clinics in Texas reported giving abortions Thursday after a federal judge suspended the law the night before. It’s the most restrictive abortion law in the country.

“We were able to provide abortions today to people who had already complied with Texas’ 24 hour-waiting period,” one Texas clinic wrote on Twitter. “We’ve reached out to people on the waiting list we had to turn away in September. In this climate, every single abortion we can provide is a win.”

The state quickly challenged that ruling and Friday night the US Appeals Court reinstated the law.

“We are delighted that the Texas Heartbeat Act is back in effect saving unborn babies lives from abortion,” said Joe Pojman, Ph.D., executive director of Texas Alliance for Life on Facebook. “Saturday will not be business as usual for the abortion industry in Texas.”

The abortion law bans abortions once cardiac activity is detected, usually around six weeks. It makes no exceptions in cases of rape or incest.

Second weekend of Austin City Limits Music Festival kicks off

Tens of thousands of music lovers will be back at Zilker Park this weekend after Austin City Limits was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Even though only four cases of COVID-19 have been traced to ACL weekend one so far, the Austin-Travis County health authority said Friday in a media Q&A that more was being done during weekend two to curb the spread of COVID-19; that includes putting more signage out and having more frequent audio reminders asking people to wear masks in spaces where social distancing is not possible.

While KXAN was at ACL last Friday, we noted that most people were not wearing masks in congregated areas.

Fans pack in near the Miller Lite stage at Austin City Limits (KXAN photo/Grace Reader)
Fans pack in near the Miller Lite stage at Austin City Limits (KXAN photo/Grace Reader)

“It does feel safe in the sense of like they’re requiring vaccination cards, or like a negative COVID test,” Nahom Fissaha told us at the festival.

It’s expected to be an unseasonably hot and muggy weekend two of the festival. Stay up-to-date on the latest weather headlines with the KXAN weather app.

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