Local boxing coach and APD work to heal community after murder in park

AUSTIN (KXAN) — An east Austin park where a man was recently found murdered is trying to restore some faith in the community. 

In April, Austin Police say a robbery led to a killing at Givens Park. When police and medical personnel from Austin-Travis County EMS arrived, they discovered the body of Andre Lanier Davis Jr. with “obvious trauma.”  

Davis, 47, was pronounced dead at the scene within 12 minutes of the first report. 

A boxing coach is helping the neighborhood heal, with assistance from the men and women sworn to protect them. 

“I’m trying to bring something positive, so we can start having the park again,” said Ray Williams, a boxing coach and personal trainer for Mitt Master Boxing and Fitness Club. 

He recognizes that Givens Park has taken a few shots recently. 

“We can’t be held accountable for what happened in the past, we are brightening up the future now,” Williams said. 

The community still reels from the pain, so APD is trying to help ease it. 

“The murder that happened was very concerning to not only the people of the park, but the neighborhood around the park,” said Patrol Sergeant Elijah Myrick, with the Austin Police Department. Myrick leads a team of officers in the “Charlie sector,” a large section of the city that includes much of the East side, including Givens Park. 

But the people are fearless, strong and want change. 

“The East side will always be the East side. They got to see something positive before they can be a part of it,” Williams said. 

APD officers don’t want to spar, but challenge the community to stand up with them.

In an ongoing community effort called “operation blue wave,” APD officers paired with Coach Ray to work out and teach kids how to box.  Each shift is responsible for going out and finding a meaningful way to interact with the people they serve.

The goal is to strengthen the east side beside the people who know it best. 

“What better idea than to involve ourselves in the community and also help people in the park and help other people feel safer knowing the police were out here getting to know people,” Myrick said. 

Operation blue wave is happening in police sectors all across Austin. 

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