Acevedo: Sergeant fired “in fear of his life”

AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin police sergeant shot and injured a man at an apartment complex after responding to a disturbance between the man and another woman on Tuesday.

According to police, the sergeant came across Jawhari Smith, who they say was armed with a semi-automatic pistol and involved in a disturbance with his girlfriend.

“When the sergeant sees it [pistol], he sees the suspect put it behind his back, allegedly, and then puts it back forward,” said Chief Art Acevedo. “The suspect at one point yells, ‘It’s a BB gun.’ The sergeant ordered the suspect several times to drop the weapon but the suspect did not comply.  The sergeant, in fear of his life, fired several rounds at the suspect.”

Smith was taken to University Medical Center Brackenridge and he is expected to recover from his injuries. During the news conference, Acevedo would not say how many times Smith was shot or where he was shot.

Officers said they had responded to the same residence several times before for problems between and man and woman living there.  

The sergeant was the first officer at the scene Tuesday.  He has been with APD for 17 years, and following protocol, will be placed on administrative leave while authorities investigate the shooting.

Nearby Harris Elementary School was briefly placed on lockdown as police investigated the shooting, the Austin ISD police chief said. They were later allowed to ‘shelter in place’, meaning the exterior doors to the building remained locked and students could move within the building.

Police closed Berkman Drive from Briarcliff Boulevard to U.S. Highway 290 and are asking residents to avoid the area.

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