AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin police shared body camera video from a “gun battle” on Sixth Street in early October, in which an officer fired a weapon while responding.
Around 1:15 a.m. Oct. 9, three officers — including Glenn Vargas, a four-year veteran who later fired his weapon — ran toward the sounds of shooting near East Sixth Street and Sabine Street, according to Austin Police Department Chief Joseph Chacon.
The cameras worn by the three officers showed them responding to a separate DWI call when dozens of gunshots rang out blocks from where they were.
The officers saw two groups of men shooting at each other, Chacon said. That night, officers were able to find a suspect they believed to be involved as well as a handgun.
About 90 seconds after the shooting happened, Chacon said officers found a 17-year-old nearby who had been shot. Michael Carothers died at the hospital later that morning. It’s unclear if it was because of the gun battle or the shot fired by the officer.
Chacon said Officer Vargas fired his gun once, and police are still unsure if anyone was struck by that bullet. The videos shared by the police chief Friday did not appear to show the shot fired by Vargas. Following the department’s policy, Vargas is on administrative leave.
The department is now conducting two investigations into the shooting. Chacon explained APD’s special investigations unit is working with the Travis County District Attorney’s Office on a criminal investigation, while the department’s internal affairs unit is handling the administrative investigation alongside the Office of Police Oversight.
Releasing the videos Friday happened because of Chacon’s new policy that he put into place in July, which requires police to share video footage related to a critical incident within 10 business days of when the incident happened.