AUSTIN (KXAN) — A memorial has been set up for a man who was shot and killed by Austin police early Tuesday morning on Wickersham Lane, after he had an altercation with an off-duty officer.
The man, identified as 27-year-old Alexander Gonzales, had reportedly cut off an off-duty officer while driving and pointed a gun at him. The off-duty officer shot at Gonzales, who drove a little farther before stopping. That off-duty officer called for backup units to come to the scene. One of the responding officers shot Gonzales after APD says officers told him to step away from the car but he reached into its rear passenger side door.
A woman was also found shot at the scene along with a baby. Both are expected to be okay. Gonzales’ family says the woman was Gonzales’ girlfriend and the mother of his baby.
Gonzales’ cousin, Shayna Plummer, says although he reached into his car, he was most likely going to check on his 2-month-old, not reaching for a gun.
“I feel like he was checking on his baby, his baby was screaming, the mother just got shot by an off-duty cop, he was checking on his baby,” she said. “It doesn’t make sense, if the cop said that from the beginning, that he showed the gun that was supposedly the reason why the cop did what he did, the off-duty one, so why would he be reaching in the back seat for a gun that was supposedly already in his hand?”
APD hasn’t confirmed whose shots were the ones that hit the woman.
Plummer said Gonzales’ death will have impacts on their family for years to come.
“There’s no getting over it. There’s no money you could pay to make this better. You can’t bring back somebody that is gone. Life is not a video game; you don’t get a reboot… there’s no bringing him back,” she said.
Neighbors in apartments off Wickersham Lane in southeast Austin are still trying to process what happened early Tuesday morning.
Molly and Corrine Tullos have lived in the area a little less than a year, and they said they can’t believe this situation happened so close to home.
“Never in my life have I sat there with an officer right below my window with gunshots,” Corrine said.
Police say a woman and baby were in Gonzales’ car. The woman was shot but is in stable condition now.
“Especially considering all this new information we just heard is really overwhelming,” Corrine said.
The two watched as the situation unfolded from their apartment windows. They weren’t the only ones trying to figure out what was going on.
Another woman at the complex, who didn’t want to be identified, said she heard five gunshots and went to her patio to investigate. She said neighbors around her were also confused.
“That was when I started seeing flashing lights,” she said.
Bryan Garcia, who has lived in the complex for about two years, called the situation “horrific.” He captured this video of police shouting commands at Gonzales in English and Spanish before he was fatally shot.
“It was very traumatic; I have never experienced anything like that in my life,” Garcia said.
Moving forward, some residents are still uneasy.
“As a person who has rented multiple times, this is the most unsafe I’ve ever felt in my own home area,” Corrine said.
Austin Police Chief Brian Manley expected a lengthy investigation to follow the incident.