AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin police worked around the clock this weekend after a violent spree of shootings that left eight hurt and at least one dead.
Here is a timeline of the shootings:
— Saturday, 2:45 a.m.: Three people were injured in a shooting at a Wendy’s restaurant near Sixth Street and Interstate 35. A caller reported people were jumping on the hood of a car. When officers arrived, the crowd dispersed and they heard shots ring out. According to APD in a Monday afternoon briefing, the incident involved people standing outside waiting for pickups by transportation by companies, when a vehicle drove by and fired shots at the crowd. The crime is being investigated as an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Victims: Three people hospitalized with non-life threatening wounds to their arms and legs. All are expected to survive
Suspects: Four people were detained but later released after not being the persons of interest police were looking for. Only description of suspects is that they were black men in their 20s.
— Saturday, 5:02 a.m.: One person was shot at the Axis West Campus Apartments near the west campus of the University of Texas at Austin at 2505 Longview Street., where the victim lives. The case is being investigated as an aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon.
Victims: An 18-year-old white male hospitalized with non-life threatening injury to his leg. He has been released
Suspects: No suspect detail is available, but a witness has been identified
— Saturday, 6:21 a.m.: A man was seriously hurt in a shooting at a Denny’s restaurant in north Austin at the 7100 block of Interstate 35 and Saint John’s Avenue. According to APD the incident occurred between a customer and an employee. Police say the customer didn’t want to pay their bill. The crime is being investigated as an assault with a deadly weapon.
Victims: One man was taken to the hospital with serious, potentially life-threatening shots to his chest and his arm. He has been released
Suspects: According to police, a vehicle that is not registered in the city of Austin is being looked at. Investigators are following up on leads. The only description of the shooter is that he was a black male
— Saturday, 11:56 p.m.: A man was shot near East Sixth Street and San Jacinto Boulevard. The area was exceptionally crowded with locals and South by Southwest festival-goers. Three individuals are said to have attacked one victim
Victims: A man in his 20s was taken to the hospital with critical, life-threatening injuries
Suspects: Two detained and police are searching for several more
— Sunday, 2:50 a.m.: A gunfight broke out between the occupants of a Maserati Levante and a dark Monte Carlo with white racing stripes across the hood near the intersection of Interstate 35 and Seventh Street, right by Austin Police headquarters. At least one of the men directly involved in the gunfire was shot. Four APD officers responded to the gun battle and were involved in the shooting. A passing driver was struck by a stray bullet and drove to 11th street where he flagged police for help.
Victims: At least one man directly involved was shot and a passing driver was also shot. One of the victims was an APD officer
Suspects: Police are searching for three suspects. There are believed to have been four suspects riding in the Maserati, one of whom is believed to have been identified. The three people seen exiting the vehicle are said to be black males wearing jeans and light-colored hoodies. APD believes the shots were fired from the rear of the vehicle
— Sunday, noon: Police found a body in a Maserati riddled with bullets near the intersection of Zach Scott Street and Tilley Street in the Mueller area. Police linked the victim and the car to the gun battle from earlier that day.
Victim: Man in his 20s killed. The clothing of the victim matched the clothing believed to have been worn by one of the suspects, according to video footage. According to APD, there is a possible identification on the deceased but there is no information beyond a belief that he may be from the Dallas Metroplex area
Suspects: Police are still searching for the two other occupants of the Maserati, and the driver of a Monte Carlo
Since the streak of violence in the city, APD Chief Brian Manley said he will not allow the entertainment district to turn into a dangerous place where “shootings become the common occurrence.” This week, he will meet with other law enforcement agencies to detail a plan to increase staffing and security in downtown Austin.
In the Monday afternoon briefing, Manley explained that plans for dealing with spike in violent crimes are still very much under development.
A few ways APD is preparing to tackle or prevent future violent crimes are:
- Working with South By Southwest promoters and partners at the Downtown Austin Alliance to plan for next year’s SXSW. Although it is not yet determined whether any of these crimes were related to SXSW, Manley says this action is necessary as they occurred inside the Entertainment District at the same time of the festival
- Examining post-incident reports to see what could have been executed better
- Watching unofficial SXSW events being held to see if they are taking adequate safety measures
- Identifying any specific acts or groups that are drawing in these types of violent crimes and working with them
- Identifying any specific venues that are drawing in these types of violent crimes and working with them and/or investigating any possible violations of their TABC license should they be unwilling to work with law enforcement
- Increased staffing, which the police chief stressed. According to Manley, increased police force in the area contributed to the events from being worse than they could have been. Staffing increases are still being worked on
“I think one of the greatest deterrents to crime is a visible police presence…the visible presence is important but also the response capabilities. The fact that we had that many officers there allowed what was an extremely violent situation to be taken under control very quickly.”
In the Monday afternoon briefing, the police chief emphasized that large numbers of foot traffic is no longer relegated to just Sixth Street but is all around the Entertainment District, including Fourth Street, Rainey Street and the Red River District. With the rising growth, according to Manley, comes increasing potential for crimes.
Manley explained that future plans to further address violent crimes were something APD was taking time with to ensure effectiveness.
All the crimes are still open investigations and anyone with any information related to any of the incidents is asked to contact police.