AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Police Department on Monday identified the man who died after being shot by an officer during a SWAT standoff in southwest Austin last week. The officer’s name was also released.
Police say the man involved was 56-year-old Robert Bruce Richart, and the officer who shot him was Officer Eric Strnad, who’s served a little more than eight years with APD.
As per standard APD protocol, Strnad was placed on administrative leave following the incident.
APD says the shooting was captured on body camera, and the department is working to locate any other sources of video. APD says it “remains committed to transparency” and will try to release video related to the event within 10 business days of when it happened.
That video will be shown during a live press conference streamed on APD’s social media accounts, the department says.
The department will also conduct two investigations: a criminal investigation done by the APD Special Investigations Unit along with the Travis County District Attorney’s Office and an administrative investigation carried out by the APD Internal Affairs Unit along with the Office of Police Oversight.
What APD says happened that day
The situation unfolded last Wednesday at the home located at 10610 Pinkney Lane. Just after 9:15 a.m., APD officers were helping Austin Code carry out a search warrant for nuisance and abatement at the home.
Police say officers left a copy of the search warrant on the front door, and contractors for Austin Code began maintenance on the home’s yard after they were unable to reach the resident.
Around 10:21 a.m., officers reported someone inside the home had fired shots at them, APD says. Officers helped move Austin Code personnel and the contractors to safety.
Officers tried to reach the person inside the home, but they were unsuccessful, APD says.
SWAT, mental health officers and a crisis negotiator arrived on scene around 10:43 a.m. Officers say de-escalation techniques were used, but for several hours, officers couldn’t make contact with Richart.
At 3:19 p.m., SWAT officers were in the backyard when the man inside the home started firing at them. “The subject fired many shots at the officers,” APD says.
At this time, officers used a robot to enter the front door. APD says the robot showed a fire had been started inside and was quickly spreading. More gunshots were heard around this time as well.
For another 20 minutes, officers continued asking the man inside the home to come out. He did not listen, APD says. Officers saw the home become fully engulfed in flames, and Austin Fire jumped in to help put it out.
At 3:39 p.m., the garage door of the home opened, and the man walked out of the garage “with weapons in his hands,” APD says. That’s when SWAT Officer Strnad fired shots at Richart and hit him.
APD says Richart fell to the ground, and officers disarmed him and moved him away from the house fire. Officers began to give him medical aid.
APD says firefighters continued to fight the fire, eventually extinguishing it and preventing it from spreading to other homes.
Austin-Travis County EMS took Richart to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 4:01 p.m.
An Austin Code worker got minor injuries during the incident, APD says, and they were also taken to a hospital for treatment.
APD says it’s still in the early stages of its investigation. Anyone with details about this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (512) 472-TIPS or use the new Crime Stoppers App.