Editor’s Note: This story has been updated upon closer review of the information released by the Travis County District Attorney on Aug. 3.
AUSTIN (KXAN) — Four Austin police officers have been cleared by a Travis County grand jury in relation to a March 2019 fatal shooting in downtown Austin during South By Southwest.
Austin Police Department officers DeAndre Wright, Dane O’Neill, Trey Nelson and Zachary Woods were ruled to have acted lawfully in their response to the scene of a vehicle collision on Seventh and Neches Streets around 3 a.m. March 17, 2019.
According to the Travis County District Attorney’s Office, the officers responded after a fight between two men who’d been involved in a car crash.
The DA’s office said 20-year-old Isaiah Hutchinson was in a Maserati that crashed with a Monte Carlo and, after a brief exchange, someone from the Maserati punched the driver of the Monte Carlo. Shortly after this, the DA’s office says the Monte Carlo driver fired a weapon at the Maserati group.
The DA’s office then said Hutchinson fired back at the Monte Carlo, sending several shots in the direction of the officers and other bystanders — this prompted officers to shoot.
“The officers returned fire, striking Isaiah as he entered the Maserati,” the release from the DA’s office said.
The Maserati and Monte Carlo drove away, the DA’s office said. Hutchinson was found dead in the Maserati’s back seat around noon the next day in the east Austin Mueller neighborhood. The driver of the Monte Carlo later turned himself in and cooperated with the investigation. The Travis County DA says there are no charges against him.
Earlier this year, Hutchinson’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Austin, saying he was not posing a threat to officers and was just defending himself. Additionally, the family says some of the officers weren’t in uniform and didn’t identify themselves.
“The District Attorney’s office takes the work of presenting all facts and evidence to a grand jury very seriously,” District Attorney Garza wrote in a statement. “In this case, an independent group of members of the Travis County community heard the evidence and law and decided that the conduct of Officers Nelson, Wright, Woods, and O’Neil was lawful.”