AUSTIN (KXAN) — One man is in critical condition due to a shooting and stabbing incident in Downtown Austin Sunday morning.
Austin Police got a call about gunfire between two vehicles, the caller reported that one of the involved cars was stopped at an intersection and was no longer moving.
According to Austin Police, officers responded to the report at 2:55 a.m. at Holly St. and I-35 after a disturbance between two separate vehicles.
When first responders arrived on scene, they saw a vehicle in the intersection and provided medical attention for the passenger who had been shot. One man was injured and sent to the hospital.
Medics from ATCEMS shared via Twitter at about 5 a.m. Sunday morning that the victim is an adult male whose injuries are “critical.” APD Watch Command noted that the man’s injuries were not life threatening.
This shooting comes after APD’s downtown command increased its staffing late in 2018 after shootings happened in that area for 3 weekends in a row.
In a December interview, APD Assistant Chief Justin Newsom who oversees the downtown district explained that APD stopped bringing in the extra staffing after the shootings stopped happening. Newsom also noted that the most common calls APD receives in the downtown district are “disturbances”, or fights, he estimated that APD responds to at least one a day in the area.
It’s important to note those shootings happened in slightly different locations, the cluster of shootings in 2018 all happened near 6th and 7th Streets, the one on Sunday happened east of I-35 along the frontage road.
“This is a common theme we’ve been seeing for the past several months, which is shootings on weekends,” said Austin Police Association President Ken Casaday, who regularly patrols in downtown with APD to keep his skills current.
He added that often a factor in that violence is that the people involved are intoxicated.
“You want people to come to town and have a time, but unfortunately when you serve large amounts of alcohol this kind of stuff happens,” he said.
He hopes to see local and state agencies checking up more frequently on bars to see whether customers are being over served alcohol. But Casaday acknowledged that he has no idea whether intoxication played a role in the shooting Sunday.
As Austin grows he expects to see the number of incidents downtown increasing, which may be a “new normal” as Austin becomes a larger city.
“We’re very fortunate that [downtown] is very close to one fo the best trauma centers in the state of Texas and we can get us there quickly,” he said, but noted that the fact that shootings continue to happen downtown at all “is a disgrace.”