Officers cleared in 2018 Ponciana Drive shooting by Special Grand Jury

ponciana drive officer involved shooting

AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin Police Department SWAT officer and an APD officer have been cleared in the shooting death of Hugo Alvarez during a SWAT standoff at a southeast Austin home in March 2018, according to a report released by Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore.

On March 25, 2018, APD officers responded to a 911 call along the 5500 block of Ponciana Drive. When officers arrived at the house, they attempted contact the residents inside, but no one answered the door.

The report says as the officers turned to leave, a shot was fired from inside the house, striking one of the officers in the arm. The APD officer returned fire with a single shot toward the door but didn’t hit anyone.

The SWAT team was called to the scene and, later, heard gunshots inside the home as they told the suspect to come out. Police used a robot to breach the front door, according to the report.

An officer was shot outside this home in the 5500 block of Ponciana Drive in southeast Austin on March 25, 2018
House at Ponciana Drive (Photo: KXAN)

The robot entered the house where it found Alvarez and a woman. The operator of the robot told authorities it looked like a “hostage” situation because it appeared Alvarez was using a woman, who was later identified as his mother, as a shield, the report says.

As they were walking towards the front door, the APD SWAT officer heard the statement “coming out with a hostage” broadcast on the radio. Alvarez’s mother left the home first with Alvarez following closely behind her. As Alvarez stepped outside the house, the SWAT officer fired one shot, hitting Alvarez. Alvarez was pronounced dead on the scene.

A Travis County Special Grand Jury did not return an indictment on either officer.

Alvarez’s family prepares to sue city of Austin, officers

Alvarez’s family is suing the officers and the City of Austin under Texas Wrongful Death and Survivor laws.

In an interview with KXAN from November 2018, the family claims that Alvarez called the police himself. 

“He heard noises and felt that somebody was attempting to do harm to he and his mother. So he dialed 911. But then hung up,” the family’s attorney Bobby Taylor said in the 2018 interview.

A city spokesperson told KXAN at the time, “We are certainly aware of the incident. We stand ready to defend the City and the Austin Police Department.”

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