If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, please reach out to the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, which is open 24/7 to provide free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Simply dial 988.
AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Police Department held a briefing Friday afternoon after a SWAT response turned into a police shooting near the 6100 block of Fairway St., which is close to East Riverside Drive and Montopolis Drive.
APD said officers responded to a disturbance call at about 9:20 a.m., but it was upgraded to a gun hotshot call, because the man involved had a gun.
Officers were dispatched and found an unidentified 29-year-old Hispanic man outside in the street with a gun in his hand.
APD said officers tried to de-escalate the situation, but they were not successful.
“During this time, the subject several times put the gun to his head and indicated that he was going to kill himself,” APD said.
SWAT then responded to the scene, as well as a mental health officer.
“At 9:51 a.m., the subject actually made the statement, saying he would shoot himself if officers refused to shoot him,” APD said.
While speaking with negotiators, the man put the gun in his waistband, according to APD.
Austin Police said the conversation continued for almost two hours, and officers eventually approached and deployed less-lethal means in order to incapacitate the man.
APD said the methods were ineffective, and the man then reached for his weapon and attempted to remove it from his waistband. A SWAT officer then deployed their duty weapon and shot the man.
Austin Police said the man went down. Officers performed life-saving measures once the man was deemed to no longer be a threat, but the man died.
Danny Granaeu said he is the suspect’s older brother and witnessed much of the scene unfold.
“If my brother [drew] on them, alright, draw. Then alright, you have the right to kill him,” he said.
But Granaeu said he didn’t see a gun on his little brother and wants to see the police body camera footage.
“He didn’t have no gun. That’s what I want to see. I want to see that,” he said.
He also believes he could have helped to de-escalate the situation before it turned fatal.
“I begged and begged the officers, and I told them, I said, ‘Man, let me go talk to my little brother. Let me get him… let me take care of the situation. He’ll hear me out. Please, y’all,” Granaeu said.
Chacon said he wasn’t aware Granaeu was trying to help, but sometimes it’s not safe to put family members in an active, ongoing police scene, which might have been the case here.
He also said he saw the video, himself, and the man was armed.
Chacon said the officers involved will be placed on administrative leave pending two investigations.
“It is always a horribly tragic thing when something like this happens. We always hope we can resolve these types of situations peacefully and in the vast majority of cases we are able to resolve these cases peacefully,” Chacon said.
He said the video will also be released publicly. Per APD policy, that usually happens within 10 business days of when the incident happened.
This is the seventh officer-involved shooting this year, according to past data. Below is a chart showing the number of officer-involved shootings in Austin each year since 1990.
Meanwhile, Graneau said he’ll have to live with the sounds of those fatal gunshots forever.
“We got to suffer. It all could have been resolved if they would’ve let me go talk about baby brother,” he said.
No officers were hurt during this incident.
“The SWAT officer involved has been in the department for six years. He and the other officers will be placed on administrative duty,” APD said.