Officer shoots, kills home invasion suspect in central Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A man died in an officer-involved shooting in central Austin Friday morning, after breaking into a home in the Hyde Park neighborhood.

Residents called 911 around 3:40 a.m., saying someone was inside their home in the 4500 block of Avenue G at 45th Street. They hid in a closet and stayed on the call, telling police around 3:43 a.m. that they heard gunshots. According to the Austin Police Department, the suspect fired shots both inside and outside the home.

“They didn’t have any contact because they stayed inside the closet, but they were updating 911 the entire time,” Assistant Chief Troy Gay said of the victims.

Two officers responded to the “burglary hotshot” call at 3:44 a.m., parking several houses away. As they approached the house, someone was about to drive off, so they gave commands for that person to stop.

An investigator at the scene of an officer-involved shooting in the 4500 block of Avenue G in Austin, Texas at 45th Street on Jan. 26, 2018 (KXAN Photo)
An investigator at the scene of an officer-involved shooting in the 4500 block of Avenue G in Austin, Texas at 45th Street on Jan. 26, 2018 (KXAN Photo)

Instead, police say he shot at them, at which point one of the officers fired back. They pulled back and then called Austin-Travis County EMS when they realized the suspect was injured. That person died at the scene. No officers were hurt, and the officers involved have spoken to the Austin Police Association.

“A lot of times it takes 24 to 48 hours for everything to sink in and that’s when a lot of times officers start having some issues, but he’s safe and that’s what’s most important,” APA President Ken Casaday said.

Numerous police cars and crime scene vans were at 45th Street and Avenue G as police investigated what led up to the shooting. Police, members of the city manager’s office, representatives from the District Attorney’s Office and the interim Austin police monitor were all also at the scene.

This is the first officer-involved shooting since the department began working without a contract at the end of December. The interim police monitor, who is designated to investigate any incidents, said she would be investigating and that nothing has changed about her role since the contract ended.

“I don’t think not having a contract is going to have a bearing on the investigation as our department has and will continue to be very transparent and open with the community and will work side by side with the police monitor, as well as the DA, as well as our special investigations unit,” Chief Gay said.

However, Casaday told KXAN he believes the police monitor is allowed to come to the scene, but that she can’t ask questions, take notes or sit in on officer interviews.

This week, the Austin city manager also suspended the citizen review panel because there is no contract. Without a meet and confer agreement between the city and the Austin Police Association, the panel can’t have access to confidential materials needed to make informed decisions regarding allegations of police officer misconduct.

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