AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin police officer who shot and killed a man who opened fired in the Omni Hotel in downtown Austin last summer will not face any charges.
On Tuesday, the Travis County Grand Jury determined Austin Police Department Officer Carlos Lopez, a five-year veteran of the force, was justified in the killing of 35-year-old Michael Holt. On July 5, 2015, Holt came into the hotel located at 700 San Jacinto around 4:30 a.m. with a rifle on his shoulder. Authorities say Holt requested a room, paid for it and proceeded to go to Capital Factory, which is located inside the Omni Hotel.
When Holt came back down, he was still carrying the rifle. When the hotel manager asked him to put it away, “Holt informed the manager and staff that he owned the hotel and could do as he pleased,” according to the Travis County District Attorney’s Office. Surveillance video from inside the hotel shows Holt walking around with a hard hat on and a rifle draped over his shoulder. Holt can be seen walking around the lobby as well as near the elevators that go up to the office building side.
The hotel manager called 911 to report Holt. A few minutes later, cab driver Conrado Contreras, 60, entered the lobby. Authorities say Holt shot Contreras one time killing him.
When police arrived one minute later, they spotted Holt through the glass walls of the building. Police say he fired multiple rounds through the glass in the direction of the responding officers. When Holt came outside and started firing shots at Officer Lopez, he returned fire as he “entered the hotel in hot pursuit of the gunman.” The exchange of gunfire continued inside the lobby. When Officer Lopez was able to find the gunman inside the lobby, he shot and killed him.
Earlier this year, Lopez was awarded the Medal of Valor for his actions during the incident.