AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Police Department says a man was shot in the chest and killed at a homeless camp in southwest Austin on Friday, but law enforcement didn’t find his body until Sunday.
An Austin Police public information officer said officers responded to a check welfare call in the 5900 block of South Mopac Expressway around 8:45 a.m. Sunday. The area is near an apartment complex in the Sunset Valley area.
Sunset Valley Police contacted APD after someone walked into their department and told them a man was dead in a wooded area.
Officers found a body in that wooded area, which turned out to be a large homeless camp. On Monday, police identified the body as that of Shawn Thomas Eaton, 28.
A witness told police he heard the victim and another man, identified in an arrest affidavit as 41-year-old Damon Richard Boyd, arguing Friday afternoon, followed by what sounded like a single gunshot.
He says when he came out and saw the victim was bleeding, the Boyd told him “he wouldn’t leave, so I shot him,” according to an affidavit. Another witness told police she was on the phone when she heard a shot, and saw the victim fall to the ground. She told police that overnight, someone placed a mattress over the victim.
Police say they found a single .32 caliber shell casing, and that one of the witnesses said the suspect had that caliber handgun.
According to Sunset Valley Police, APD requested their help to clear an area behind the Grand Reserve Apartments.
Police said they weren’t sure if the camp was on their radar, but property owners told them they never have issues with people who live in the camp.
Officers spoke witnesses but are also asking for the public’s help. If anyone has information, they are asked to contact the homicide tip line at 512-472-TIPS or call 911.
Boyd is facing a first-degree murder charge. He is being held in the Travis County Jail on a $500,000 bond.