Officer cleared after firing gun at alleged DWI suspect

Police investigate an officer involved shooting in January at the intersection of N. Lamar and Rundberg Ln.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A Travis County grand jury cleared an Austin police officer after he fired his weapon in January at a suspect who allegedly tried to run him over in a North Austin parking lot.

Officer John Gabrielson was flagged down by a driver on Jan. 25, 2014, who was following a truck that had reportedly hit his vehicle and left the scene. Gabrielson followed the truck into a Shell gas station at Rundberg Lane and Interstate 35 and got out of his car in an attempt to talk with the driver, 22-year-old Fernando Estrada.

Fernando Estrada
Fernando Estrada

The officer then drew his weapon as Estrada tried to exit the parking lot. Estrada’s path was blocked by vehicles waiting in line for a car wash, the district attorney’s office said in a release, but Estrada pushed forward and struck a curb before running into an Escalade. As Estrada tried to push the Escalade out of the way, his truck moved into the officer’s path and Gabrielson fired his gun three times, the DA’s office said.

Estrada, who was not hit, was able to push the Escalade out of the way and escaped down Rundberg. He crashed a short time later at an H-E-B near Lamar Boulevard. Police say Estrada was intoxicated.

The grand jury met for a total of eight hours discussing the case, hearing from nine witnesses, including Gabrielson. The officer has been on the force since 2005.

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