AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin police say a man is dead after being shot by officers early Saturday morning in northwest Austin.
Assistant Chief Chris McIlvain says officers responded to a report of two men fighting in a strip mall parking lot, where one man had a gun, on Anderson Mill Road at Olson Drive just after 1 a.m. When officer arrived, the man with the gun had already left the scene.
Police say he later returned with a shotgun and an AR15 assault rifle and started firing gunshots in the air. The officer ordered the man to drop his weapons but he refused and moved toward the Hope Presbyterian Church while firing more shots in the air. Officers contained the suspect in the courtyard of the church. Chief McIlvain says officers spent 13 minutes talking with the suspect but he refused to drop his weapons. By this time, it was nearing 2 a.m.
“We had multiple officers trying to contain the suspect while we waited for SWAT and hostage negotiators who had been called to the scene previously. They had not yet arrived when the suspect left his area of containment and began walking through the courtyard, it was at that time that officers encountered the subject. Officers fired and the subject went down,” explained McIlvain.
Police describe the suspect as a white man in his 40s but did not release his name.
Officers blocked off a portion of Olson Drive from Anderson Mill Road to nearby Hope Presbyterian Church for the investigation.
“This door was completely shattered, there were shards of glass all laid out on the property here,” said Hope Presbyterian pastor Josh Robinson. “There were bullets that went through the door and on into the interior door that caused some damage as well. Police even recovered a bullet in the fellowship hall.”
Robinson says he received the call from police around 7 a.m. Saturday morning. “I came here after that. To have an incident of this magnitude is very unsettling, it’s unnerving and it’s a lot to process,” said Robinson. “One of the bigger jolts to this is it being right here on the doorstep, the threshold of where we come to seek an understanding and grace.”
Robinson says no one was at the church at the time of the shooting, possibly the only positive from the night’s events. “An incident like this is unsettling and jolting in any neighborhood that it happens. Thankfully no one else was hurt.”
Robinson says this is the first time there’s been any issue with the bar next door. However, as the community continues to grow, he says he will continue adding safety features to the church. “We have been working over the last two years to increase safety and security for all of the guests that come on the property for their own safety and for protection.”