Police search for suspects after deadly gunfire on North Lamar

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Austin (KXAN) — Austin Police are searching for the suspects behind an incident that left two men injured and one man dead in North Austin.

APD said that at 1:50 a.m. someone called 9-1-1 after hearing gunshots in the parking lot of La Preferida Bar at 10205 North Lamar Blvd. when first responders arrived, they found three men with gunshot wounds.

26-year-old Julio Cesar Gamez-Contreras was pronounced dead at the scene. The other two victims were transported to Dell Seton with nonlife-threatening injuries.

APD is in the process of investigating this case and speaking with witnesses. Witnesses told police that a fight broke out inside the bar between the victims and several suspects. Police say the fight spilled over into the parking lot, which is where the shooting happened.

The suspects fled the scene in a white Cadillac Escalade truck with chrome wheels, APD says.

An image of a White Cadillac Escalade truck similar to the one the suspects fled in. Image courtesy Austin Police.

“Detectives are doing interviews right now, there are witnesses who saw everything,” said Senior Patrol Officer Demitri Hobbs of Austin Police while speaking with KXAN early Sunday morning.

This incident is being investigated by Austin Police as a homicide. Police want to get in touch with anyone who has video or information about what happened.

“Anyone with information about this incident is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 512-472-TIPS or text “Tip 103″ + your message to CRIMES or use the new Crime Stoppers App or email APD Homicide at homicide.apd@austintexas.gov. You may remain anonymous. You can also submit tips by downloading APD’s mobile app, Austin PD, free on iPhone and Android.”

Austin Police Department press release

KXAN spoke with employees at La Preferida who explained that their bar employs security personnel and does not let people in who have guns or knives.

Broader crime-related concerns

Austin Police Association President Ken Casaday explained that crimes like this one (coupled with the several other violent incidents police responded to across Austin this weekend) highlight the need for more Austin Police officers.

Casaday is thankful that the city’s proposed budget for the upcoming year would fund 30 additional officers.

When it comes to incidents like the homicide over the weekend, Casaday says, “I think the officers would help.”

“Where that helps is a lot of our officers are having to work a lot of overtime,” he continued. “Our detectives that should probably have anywhere from 5 to 25 cases in their cue at one time will have 30 to 50.”

The department is already around 100 officers short, Cassaday said. He noted that the department could use many more officers than they are currently allotted.

“We had the multiple stabbings and shootings last night and that’s not only a lot for the police to deal with, it’ a tremendous amount of work for EMS and Fire,” Casaday said on Sunday.

He noted that “violent crime doesn’t discriminate” and that just this weekend, APD responded to incidents all over the city.

But there are certain areas, like the downtown entertainment district, where officers are frequently called to, Casaday said. He said the North-Lamar- Rundberg Lane area is one where officers often have to respond to violent calls.

“I hear from the officers up there just as much as I do downtown [officers]” Casaday said.

Council Member Greg Casar, who represents the area, recently held a town hall meeting to address the crime rate in North Lamar- Rundberg. At that meeting, Casar presented two ideas to address violent crime: continuing funding for relationship violence crisis intervention and boosting funding for the division of Emergency Medical Services that helps direct the homeless to resources. These proposals were in response to a community request for neighborhood-level funding to target the root causes of violent crime.

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