Witness gives his account of fatal officer-involved shooting near Pennybacker Bridge

Austin

Graphic Warning: Some of the videos in this story show a woman being attacked during a domestic disturbance, and the following story describes the attack.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Police are searching for a suspect’s gun after a domestic disturbance led to a fatal officer-involved shooting near the Pennybacker Bridge Sunday. 

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said officers were called to the 5200 block of Loop 360 around 5:15 p.m. Investigators believe there was disturbance between a husband and wife while they were in the car. The woman got out of her car to escape her husband and got into another car, police say. 

The 45-year-old suspect then drove northbound in the southbound lane and hit the car she got into. Once again, the woman got out of the car fleeing on foot. 

A viewer’s dash camera video appears to show the woman running from her husband after the crash and trying to get into another car. The suspect ran after her, picked her up and ran out of frame. The man reportedly pinned the woman to the ground but several bystanders came to her aid. Police said they then got calls that the suspect ran from the scene into a wooded area nearby.

When officers got to the scene they found a victim with what appeared to be road rash and an injured arm. Austin-Travis County EMS took the woman to the hospital with potentially serious injuries.

  • If you or someone you know is in a violent situation and needs help, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline number at 1-800-799-7233. If it is an emergency, please call 911. 

Manley said police then dispatched their air and K9 units to help find the suspect. Around 5:50 p.m., police received reports that the suspect texted his stepdaughter to say her mother was ok but “he would be killed by officers tonight.”

K9 officers tracked the suspect’s scent and he was ultimately found in the woods. According to Manley, the officers’ bodycam video was not clear but officers could be heard telling the suspect to drop a gun. 

The suspect could be heard saying, “I have a gun, I will shoot you,” Manley said. Officers commanded the suspect to drop his weapon multiple times.

Around 6:20 p.m., officers fired at the suspect. Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services took him to a local trauma center with critical life-threatening injuries, where he later died.

Two officers were involved in the shooting. A patrol officer, who was on the force for four years, and a K9 officer, who was on the force for seven years, were both be placed on administrative leave as investigations continue. 

Traffic was diverted from the highway for some time during the incident.

Witness explains how he and others helped the woman escape

One of the witnesses who can be seen in video stepping in to help the couple, told KXAN when he saw the commotion, it was his instinct to run and help.

“It seems like something that should just kind of be expected,” said Curtis B. Lokey. “If you see somebody being a bully in whatever way, you go help.”

At the time, Lokey had just parked near the 360 Overlook and was about to head up the hill with his family. Instead, he helped pin down the suspect with another man who jumped out of his car to help.

Lokey says they had the man pinned down for several minutes, Lokey holding a pocket knife out, just in case, before another man in plain clothes walked up and began speaking to them.

“He said, ‘I’m a federal agent. Y’all can go ahead and get off of him,'” Lokey recalled.

Lokey says when they let the suspect go, he took off running. From there, Lokey says he chased the suspect, trying to stop him.

“I got winded, and this Tesla comes pulling by, and I was like, ‘Hey, can you give me a ride?'” Lokey said, adding that the car helped him catch up to the man, who he then followed into the nearby wooded area.

“And then at that point, I realized it was probably better for me to come out of the woods, because police would be arriving soon, and I wanted to be able to show them where he went in.”

KXAN asked whether APD could confirm whether the man Lokey mentioned was a federal agent, but the department wouldn’t comment Monday.

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