Man killed in officer-involved shooting had ‘mental crisis’, walked at officers with knife

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — A man was killed in an officer-involved shooting at a downtown Austin condominium Wednesday afternoon, after allegedly walking towards officers with a knife, police say.

The call of the shooting came in at 5:05 p.m. and police were sent to The Spring Condominiums on Bowie Street near Lamar Boulevard.

According to a Tri-Shield Security guard at the scene, the suspect was a resident who was holding a knife to his own throat when officers arrived.

“He is a quiet kind of guy, stayed to himself so, I don’t know why he did that,” said Danielle Sanders, the guard.

In a briefing on Wednesday evening, Austin Police Department Chief Brian Manley said that APD requested a mental health officer was requested to go to the scene, in addition to responders.

According to APD, the first officer arrived around 5:08 p.m. and upon arrival, started gathering information on what happened. By the time the officer arrived, the person involved in the incident had entered a condominium complex and the officers went into the lobby to talk to the staff at the complex.

Staff told police that the person is believed to be a resident of the complex. According to staff, he’d first been seen outside holding a “butcher knife” or a “large kitchen knife” up to his throat as he was walking around.

The man then got onto an elevator somewhere within the complex, Manley said.

As officers were forming a plan on how to respond to the man, complex employees told them that he had been located and that he was in the complex’s gymnasium, on the fifth floor.

According to police, they were then able to see him, at that moment, on video surveillance inside the gymnasium, where he was waving the knife at the camera.

This forced officers to respond immediately, and they quickly moved up in the elevator, where they devised their plan.

As the doors to the elevator opened, the man was standing just outside the elevator across a very narrow hallway, and as they began giving him commands, he turned around.

APD says that the man then moved the knife from near his throat and to his side and began walking toward the officers. As he did, two of the officers reportedly fired their duty pistols and one officer fired a taser. The APD chief says that while he doesn’t remember their direct words, that the officers gave commands for the man to “Show his hands” or “Stop.”

At this point in the video, Manley says, the man falls and is no longer in the frame of the video. This gave the officers the chance to get in and secure the man.

“We knew the police had come, and heard shots, about five or six shots,” said Dan McClellan, a man who lives at the Spring.

EMS and Austin Fire Department arrived and performed life-saving measures before taking him to a local hospital and the man was pronounced dead at 6:07 p.m.

According to police, he is believed to be a 46-year-old Asian man.

Manley said that both officers who fired their pistols — who have both been with APD for five years — will be placed on administrative leave while an investigation is conducted. The chief also extended words to the family of the man, saying:

“And I do want to take a moment really to express our heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased here today. Again, it was someone who apparently was in some level of mental crisis that drew us out here today and resulted in the scene that played out behind us in this condominium tower.”

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