AUSTIN (KXAN) — A man officers say was armed with a knife was shot by police on U.S. Highway 183 near the airport in southeast Austin Thursday afternoon, according to the Austin Police Department.
Officers say the man was taken to the hospital, where he is in stable condition. No officers were hurt.
APD Chief of Staff Troy Gay gave an update on the police shooting, which took place in the 2100 block of South U.S. Highway 183. That’s near East Riverside Drive.
Gay says a call reporting a pedestrian on the highway came in at 4:35 p.m. One officer arrived on scene first at 4:37 p.m. He was leaving a work assignment in an unmarked car and was dressed in a polo shirt with a badge. He did not have a body-worn camera on.
Gay says the first responding officer placed his vehicle in the middle of the roadway to block traffic. The suspect appeared to be agitated and aggressive and was armed with what looked like a knife.
Two other officers in standard uniform and body cameras arrived a few minutes later at 4:40 p.m., and Gay says the suspect was aggressively approaching the officer who got there first.
That officer was backing up and giving commands to the suspect to drop his knife.
“They attempted to get the suspect out of the roadway, I can tell you that the suspect came toward the officer, he continued to de-escalate, he moved back about—up to 10 to 15 feet in order to try to de-escalate to get the suspect to stop his aggressive behavior,” Gay said.
He continued to come at the officers, Gay says, and that’s when up to five shots were fired. During this time, the suspect went down, but he was still conscious, moving and continued to disobey commands to drop his knife.
Two officers had fired shots, according to Gay, and the third deployed his taser, which eventually caused the suspect to drop his knife. The officers immediately gave first aid to the suspect after then.
Gay says it was important to get the suspect out of the roadway, because it was dangerous for rush hour drivers.
“For the safety of our officers, the citizens, it was imperative to try to get the suspect out of the roadway,” Gay said.
The two officers who fired shots both have 11 years of service with APD. The officer who deployed their taser has 17 years of service. All three will be placed on administrative leave, as per protocol when force is used, according to Gay. Their identities have not been released.
The video for this police shooting will be released within 10 days, in line with APD’s new critical incident release video policy. It will be the first body cam footage to be released under this new policy.
The Travis County District Attorney’s Office, the APD Internal Affairs Unit and the Office of Police Oversight will be conducting investigations to determine if the use of force was justified.
U.S. Highway 183 southbound is open now, but major delays are still expected. The northbound side of the highway will remain closed at Metropolis, police say.