AUSTIN (KXAN) — A new suspect has been identified in the June 12 mass shooting on Sixth Street in Austin that killed one man and injured 14 others. Charges have been dropped against two teenagers who were previously arrested in connection with the shooting, authorities said at a press conference Tuesday.
Austin Police Department reports 19-year-old De’Ondre Jermirris White will be charged with murder — his bond has been set at $1 million. Police say White is responsible for the murder of the victim: 25-year-old Douglas Kantor, who was visiting Austin.
Interim APD Chief Joseph Chacon said new witness statements and evidence led to changes in the case. According to Chacon, investigators believe White fired the shots after analyzing ballistic evidence and surveillance camera footage.
Austin Interim Police Chief Joseph Chacon explained Tuesday:
“Based now upon multiple witness interviews, ballistic evidence, video evidence, and the positions of the suspect — Mr. White — and the victims, we know that White was the person who fired his handgun, striking Mr. Kantor and multiple other victims.”APD Interim Police Chief Joseph Chacon
Police said they interviewed White following the shooting, but he was released and returned to Killeen. According to APD, he changed his hair and appearance before going into hiding. White is still at large and should be considered armed and dangerous, police said.
A 17-year-old was arrested at a high school in Killeen on June 14 and was initially charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in connection with an argument between two groups of teens that escalated into gunfire. A 15-year-old was also taken into custody in connection with the shooting.
Police say the 17-year-old was part of one of the groups and the 15-year-old was part of the other. APD also said the 17-year-old did meet up with White after the shooting to discuss what happened.
On Tuesday, the Travis County District Attorney, José Garza, said charges will be dropped against both the 17-year-old and 15-year-old.
“There is not sufficient evidence that either of these gentlemen fired a shot,” District Attorney Garza said on Tuesday.
Attorney Jon Evans, who is representing the 17-year-old, said he appreciates law enforcement’s efforts to clear his client’s name. He said his client did not “cut a deal” or give any information to investigators, but rather was cleared on evidence alone.
“You have 14 families who blame him for what happened to them on Sixth Street, and he is not to blame for this,” said Evans. “Imagine yourself at 17 years old, spending a week in jail for something you didn’t do,” Evans said.
The lawyer also noted that he did not believe his client would be facing any other charges in the future, despite APD indicating both the 17-year-old and the 15-year-old may have had guns in their possession during the incident.
Garza said dismissing the charges against the two teens was in the best interest of the case and prosecution of the new suspect, White. However, he said the investigation was far from over.
“He [White] will be charged with murder and he will be held accountable,” Garza said. “And at the point the investigation is concluded, we will evaluate the conduct of every person involved and make appropriate charging decisions at that time.”
Family members of Kantor, the man who died following the shooting, said they are frustrated and concerned about the direction the investigation was going and had “no faith” in the D.A.’s decision to drop the charges.
“Cursing at one another or flashing a gun — however they were involved,” Kantor’s brother Nick told KXAN’s Alex Caprariello. “They were all there, and they should have charges brought against them — not just the one guy who pulled the trigger.”
“It’s hard to believe that its just one person shooting — that’s what we are being told, and we’re not buying it,” Nick Kantor said. “We are not in the slightest bit convinced that the investigation is going in the right direction.”