AUSTIN (KXAN) — The SWAT police officer who shot and killed a man who fired shots at the Austin Police Department’s helicopter on Feb. 7, 2015, in Southwest Austin will not face charges for his role in the shooting.
Police say they were originally called to the area of Pax Drive and Raccoon Run for reports of a man, later identified as 27-year-old Sawyer Flache, shooting at street lights.
“A caller advised the subject was sitting in the street with a rifle in his lap,” said Chief Art Acevedo day the shooting happened. “The caller also advised 911 dispatch that the subject was armed with multiple weapons.” Acevedo said the neighbors reported seeing the suspect with long rifles, pistols and shotguns.
Once the officers arrived at the scene and heard additional gun shots, the police supervisor decided to employ APD’s Air1 helicopter to assist with finding the suspect. Air1 has the ability to see in the dark, which helped officers in the area where the street lights were out.
Officer Luke Serrato, a designated sniper, arrived with three other SWAT officers as Flache started shooting at Air1. According to a authorities, when Serrato saw Flache take position to fire another shot at Air1 he fired one shot and killed Flache.
At the time of the shooting, Serrato had been with APD for seven years and a SWAT member for three years.
It took the Grand Jury 17 hours to deliberate and hear from 12 witnesses before deciding not to charge Serrato.
The helicopter did sustain some minor damage from the shots.