Halloween shooting victim considered a ‘hero’

Randall Gaston Jones (Austin Police Department)
Randall Gaston Jones (Austin Police Department)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A Sunday Halloween party that ended with a shooting left one man dead and three others injured. A person calling 911 said the suspect was dressed as Santa Claus.

“Advise the police — this is a [Halloween] costume party — the one with the pistol is dressed like Santa Claus,” the caller told the 911 dispatcher according to the arrest affidavit. “This guy is out of control.”

Randall Gaston Jones, 32, has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and one count of aggravated assault on date/family/household member with a weapon. A murder charge was filed Monday evening.

Police say the shooting happened around 6:12 a.m. on the 5500 block of Avenue F near East Koenig Lane. Prior to the shooting, people inside the home told police Jones was “highly intoxicated” and they asked him to calm down by going to his room, which he did. However, a short time later, Jones came out of his room and fired one shot into the ground, police say.

“While everyone else scattered, Michael [McCloskey] went after Jones in attempt to protect everybody,” said Lt. Jason Staniszewski during a Monday afternoon press conference. McCloskey, 37, suffered multiple gunshot wounds to his body during the altercation. The affidavit said Jones got a gash on his scalp and had to get stitches.

One of the party-goers later told police that McCloskey was “a hero,” the affidavit said.

Jones was found at a neighbor’s home less than a block away from where the shooting happened, “clothed in a blood-stained Santa Claus costume,” according to the affidavit. Police say he told the neighbor an altercation had occurred at his home and that he would surrender to authorities.

“Jones placed a black semi-automatic on the neighbor’s ‘Welcome’ mat and waited for police to arrive,” a APD press release stated. The affidavit said Jones “pleaded that the officers check on the welfare of the party-goers,” and apologized. He told officers he wanted to go to sleep and be left alone.

“I did not want this to [expletive] happen — Why did they have to [expletive] push it?” Jones apparently shouted unprompted at officers, according to the affidavit. “Why did they have to [expletive] go to my room?! — They’re not paying for it — Why the [expletive] do I have to deal with this?”

At last report Monday afternoon, the suspect has not talked to police since asking for legal counsel Sunday.

McCloskey, 37, died at the hospital Sunday afternoon. Two women — one of whom was Jones’ roommate — were taken to the hospital and a fourth person was treated at the scene. One of the women was still being treated for her injuries Monday afternoon. She remained in serious condition.

Police say McCloskey came to the Halloween party with a friend and did not know Jones before the party.

When KXAN returned to the scene Monday morning, Halloween decorations could still be seen in the home’s front yard.

“If there’s a shooting around you or you hear shots fired,” Lt. Staniszewski said, “the most important thing is that you take cover and try to protect yourself.”

Detectives are asking anyone with information about the incident to call 512-477-3588 or Crime Stoppers at 512-472-TIPS.

Home on Avenue F in Austin where a shooting occurred during a Halloween party on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017. (KXAN Photo/Brittany Glas)
Home on Avenue F in Austin where a shooting occurred during a Halloween party on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017. (KXAN Photo/Brittany Glas)

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