Austin Chief explains why officer shot man who had BB gun

Jawhari Smith

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Police Department officer who shot 23-year-old Jawhari Smith on Tuesday is the same officer who arrested him earlier this year, according to APD officials.

Back in January, Sgt. Gregg White arrested Smith for possession of a controlled substance when he was originally called out to the apartment at 6301 Berkman Dr. for a disturbance involving Smith.

When Sgt. White arrived at the apartment, a woman was yelling at someone inside apartment #107. According to court records, inside the unit was Smith who had on a red hat, red shirt and had a red bandana sticking out of his pants. Since the area is known for “Blood” gang members, Sgt. White frisked Smith to check for any weapons.

Smith didn’t have any weapons on him but Sgt.White did find cocaine in his pocket.

On Tuesday, Sgt. Smith was called out to 6301 Berkman Dr. again for a similar complaint but this time it ended with shots fired.

When White arrived, Smith was holding a gun and refused to drop it, Police Chief Art Acevedo said.

“The sergeant, in fear of his life, fired several rounds at the suspect,” Acevdeo added.

On Thursday evening, police said what Smith was holding was actually a Umarex model XBG pellet/BB pistol.

At the time of Acevedo’s news conference, the crime scene was still being processed so no one was allowed to touch Smith’s gun, so Acevedo was speaking based off what he saw: the BB pistol looked like a semi-auto handgun.

Smith is out of the hospital and recovering from his injuries. Police have not charged him with anything related to Tuesday’s shooting. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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