AUSTIN (KXAN) — The man accused of pointing a weapon at people near Old Bee Caves Road and West Highway 71 on Tuesday afternoon has been identified. The incident shut down the area for hours.
An arrest affidavit reveals the suspect is Kyle Helms, 54. He’s charged with robbery by threat, a second-degree felony.
Court documents said Austin Police Department officers responded just before 11 a.m. to reports of someone pointing a rifle at people at the intersection of SH 71 and U.S. Highway 290.
A witness police spoke with said he was panhandling when the suspect approached him and pointed what he thought was a shotgun at the witness.
According to the affidavit, the witness said Helms was screaming “unintelligibly” and took the witness’ backpack.
Police identified Helms as the suspect and arrested him at 3:30 p.m. after a SWAT callout. They found the witness’ backpack at Helms’ campsite, the affidavit said.
Later in the affidavit, the victim stated he thought Helms may have been holding a pellet gun. KXAN reached out to APD to clarify if it was a real or pellet gun, and police said no real firearm, pellet gun or replica firearm was found.
A witness also told police the suspect previously asked to borrow someone else’s pellet gun before the robbery, APD said.
The incident shut down parts of Old Bee Caves Road and SH 71 on Tuesday afternoon, and air and K9 units were called to help in addition to SWAT. Viewer video shared with KXAN shows a man pointing a weapon at another man in that same area and around the same time.
KXAN has reached out to Helms’ attorney and will update this story when we hear back.