AUSTIN (KXAN) — When Austin police responded to the the call that ultimately turned into an officer-involved shooting on Sixth Street, their officers on the ground were assisted by officers monitoring HALO (High Activity Location Observation) cameras back at headquarters.
According to the timeline laid out Sunday by Austin police, the incident began at 2:39 a.m. when officers on Sixth Street heard gunshots. Over the radio, those officers reported the shots, then officers watching Sixth Street HALO cameras were able to find video capturing the suspect. The officers watching the HALO cameras gave the officers on the ground a description of who to look for at 2:41 a.m.
By 2:42 a.m. the officers reported shots fired over the radio.
APD believes the suspect, 24-year-old Landon Nobles, in that initial shots fired call ran away from officers who were pursuing him, then fired at two officers. The two officers pursuing him fired back, striking the suspect who ultimately died of his injuries.
Austin police implemented these HALO cameras in 2010, they have over 40 located around Austin, though most of the cameras are on Sixth Street, downtown, with a few additional cameras on Rundberg Lane.
“It’s a public safety camera system, we have it in place in areas we’ve identified as high activity, high criminal activity potentially,” said Commander Darryl Jamail, who oversees the Real-Time Crime Center where the HALO cameras are housed.
The HALO cameras are monitored by officers 24 hours a day, with the number of officers increasing during peak hours. The cameras are typically located on top of buildings.
Jamail noted that while some HALO camera systems can detect gunfire, the APD cameras do not. The APD cameras monitor video only, not audio. Jamail added that radio consoles near the HALO cameras allow officers to relay the information they review to field officers immediately.
He explained that these cameras often help officers to take action on cases. Jamail said that HALO camera video gives officers something new to act on roughly 70 percent of the time.
“A good example of that was the shots fired call that we took and made arrests on at South by Southwest in which there was an argument between two groups of people,” Jamail said. “Officers responded, we watched it from up here in the camera system, and as the two groups separated and went their way, there were no arrests or actions at that time. But the officers up here could tell there was a group of people who were continuing to agitate and would probably continue to be a problem. As they got out their vehicle, they stuck a gun out of their vehicle and fired out shots. [HALO cameras] were able to direct officers to the vehicle safely.”
Jamail added that typically APD can rely on the information they receive from their camera systems. He would like to see these cameras used in more areas throughout the city.
“Usually there’s not much question unless there’s a question of whether or not you can really see it because sometimes the video is not 100 percent,” he said.