AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin police are investigating two deadly shootings that happened in southeast Austin early Wednesday morning.
Around midnight, police responded to a call about shots fired at Burton Drive near Oltorf Street. When officers arrived, they found a man in the road. He appeared to have been shot.
Police and paramedics tried to save his life, but he died. Investigators are now trying to figure out what led up to the shooting. They have not arrested anyone for this shooting.
At about 1 a.m. police responded to calls about a shooting at a homeless camp along East Riverside Drive and South Pleasant Valley Road, about a mile away from the earlier shooting.
After searching the area, officers found a tent with blood. Inside the tent, they found a man who had been shot and killed. In a Friday update, police said he was pronounced dead at 1:38 a.m. and was 67 years old. His name hasn’t been released yet.
A Thursday autopsy found the man died from gunshot wounds, in the manner of homicide. No one is in custody for this shooting.
Investigators say they don’t have specific information leading them to believe the two shootings are related. They are asking people to be aware of their surroundings and report any suspicious activity.
Detectives are asking anyone with information to call APD Homicide at (512) 974-TIPS. You can also call the Crime Stoppers tip line at (512) 472-8477 (TIPS), use the Crime Stoppers app or submit tips by downloading APD’s mobile app, Austin PD.
Information leading to an arrest may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Tips can remain anonymous.
Neighbors concerned about crime and homeless camps in the area
Neighbors who live in the 78741 zip code, where both of Wednesday’s homicides occurred, say they’re frustrated with two things: frequent reports of shootings and stabbings in the area and the homeless encampment in the median along Riverside Drive, the crime scene of Wednesday’s second shooting death.
“I’ve been here for 40 years. I’ve never seen Austin so bad,” said one neighbor, who wanted to remain anonymous for safety purposes.
She said she makes weekly calls to city council members and regularly reports trash along Riverside where the encampment sits.
“It makes me angry, because I feel that we pay our taxes, we put those people in office, and they are not doing their jobs. They’re taking tax dollars, and they’re buying hotels, millions of dollars to, in a hotel, put 80 to 100 people, while we’ve got thousands on the street that are homeless,” she said. “We voted for the homeless to be off the street. And they’re not. They’re not moving fast enough.”
Down the road, Lucy Tschirhart is a realtor who lives and sells homes in the area. However, she says that’s been hard lately.
“I’ve had a number of occasions, both personally, when I was trying to sell my house and other clients just coming from out of town and being disheartened by what they saw on Riverside,” Tschirhart said.
Tschirhart says she understands, however, that homelessness is a complex issue.
“At best, I can get the humanitarian part of it. Like, a lot of these people have been ostracized from their families. They have no help. They might have mental health issues. They might have addiction issues,” Tschirhart said. “That might give them the right if they choose to be homeless, but not the right to break other laws.”