Austin police officer, suspect injured after shooting early Friday

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin police are investigating a shooting early Friday involving a police officer in northeast Austin.

It happened just after 12 a.m. Friday at the East Highway 290 Westbound Service Road between Cameron Road and Interstate 35.

According to Interim Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon, it began when someone called 911, saying someone in another car was shooting at them. Minutes later, officers found the 911 caller, who had not been shot. Officers then found the vehicle of the person they believed fired the shots.

Police say officers got behind the vehicle, turned on their lights and stopped the vehicle. As they exited their vehicle, the person in the car began shooting at them. Two officers returned fire.

One officer and the suspect both suffered gunshot wounds.

As of last update, they are both undergoing surgery at a local hospital. The officer is expected to survive.

Body cameras that the officers wore, as well as from the patrol unit, recorded the shooting.

“Having watched all that video, it’s chilling, and we are lucky right now that we don’t have more people that are injured, particularly our officers, who in the face of this danger displayed bravery,” Chacon said.

Concern about gun violence has grown in the last few weeks.

“I think this is emblematic of issues I have been talking about the last several days about gun violence, why we are working on an initiative I will be rolling out in the next week,” Chacon added.

Kenneth Casaday, president of the Austin Police Association, said initiatives don’t cut it if offenders aren’t prosecuted to the fullest extent.

“Our intel and our violent crimes officers are out there working 50 and 60 hours a week to get these people into custody,” Casaday said. “We need them prosecuted to the fullest extent instead of giving them a slap on the wrist and letting them out of jail.”

Since January, Travis County District Attorney José Garza said his office secured more than 300 indictments.

“We are trying to make sure these incidents are handled by our most senior prosecutors,” Garza said. “We will not tolerate violence against members of our community.”

Next week, Garza plans to announce an initiative of his own: the creation of a major crimes unit.

The Texas Municipal Police Association (TMPA) stated it supports any initiatives out there, but say it’s possible the increase in violent crimes may be a pitfall of budget cuts.

“We need to renew our efforts to provide law enforcement agencies with the resources they need to do their jobs,” Kevin Lawrence, the TMPA’S executive director, said. “Kudos to the interim chief for making this effort, and we’ll keep our fingers crossed.”

Both officers involved in the northeast Austin shooting will be on leave pending the investigation into the shooting.

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