Police: Suicidal 20-year-old shot, killed by officer after refusing to drop gun

Long Winter Drive Officer Involved Shooting scene (KXAN photo)
Long Winter Drive Officer Involved Shooting scene (KXAN photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A 20-year-old armed man was shot and killed by police in northeast Austin Monday morning as he yelled at officers to shoot him.

Austin police say they were called at 11:03 a.m. to the 11000 block of Long Winter Drive, near the intersection of Dessau Road and Braker Lane, for a report of an attempted suicide involving a man waving a gun around erratically, but not necessarily pointing it at anyone.

“It was, ‘Boom, boom boom,'” neighbor Sean Lamphere said. “There were three distinct shots.”

Shot, he told KXAN, that followed shouting.

“I was in my backyard and I heard a woman shouting,” Lamphere said. “She sounded like she was distressed. My wife did say that the man said he was going to shoot himself.”

A Spanish speaker who identified herself as the suspect’s mother called 911 and said her son had a fight with his girlfriend. The first officer arrived at 11:12 a.m., but waited for backup due to information that there was possibly a barricaded suspect inside the house.

At 11:15 a.m. the garage door opened with the man inside. At this point, there were multiple officers in front of the house. The mother told a 911 dispatcher that her son had a gun in his front right pocket and that he wanted to kill himself. She told officers that her son spoke both English and Spanish.

The man, at some point, took the gun out of his pocket and started arguing with his mother. The 20-year-old went into the street, with his mother in the driveway, and ignored officers commands, Chief of Police Brian Manley said.

“The subject was telling them to shoot him and so the officers realized the volatility of the situation they were dealing with and when he was non-compliant, wouldn’t follow commands and ultimately turned around in the direction of the mother, they could no longer see the weapon,” Manley said. “They had some concerns he might take an aggressive action towards the mother and force their hand, and so an officer reported that he fired in defense of the mother’s life.”

The man was hit by the gunfire; officers and first responders attempted CPR, but he died at the hospital at 11:54 a.m.

The Austin police officer who shot the man has been placed on administrative leave, following standard protocol. He has been with the police department for 17 years.

Chief Manley says the department is not aware of any video that has caught the shooting on camera. They are checking with neighbors to see if there is anyone who has surveillance cameras in the area.

The chief is unsure if one of the officers who approached the man had a less lethal weapon available at the time of the shooting.

Manley said he has expressed his condolences of the department to the man’s family. “Our officers were put in a very difficult position today. I assure you no officer wants to come to work — no officer starts their day with the thought of taking a life. This is something I absolutely expect will weigh heavily on our officer.” The department is offering the family counseling services.

The last officer-involved shooting APD had was in early April when several officers fired shots at Lawrence Burrell Parrish as he was standing at his door. According to the arrest affidavit, the officer who was closest to Parrish said he saw Parrish “raise the rifle toward his direction.” The officer stated he fired two rounds at Parrish and then ducked down to take cover when he heard more gunshots, but he wasn’t sure if it came from Parrish or other officers. Parrish was hit several times.

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