The victim of the Omni hotel downtown shooting was an Austin cab driver who had also served in the Army. As his co-workers grieve--we learn more about the man behind his death.
Yellow Cab driver Daniel Ogwu saw police responding to the Omni hotel in Downtown Austin Sunday morning. Then, he saw his friend's cab parked outside.
"We still don't believe it happened because even after this morning we're praying it's not him," said Ogwu.
Police say 60-year-old Conrado Contreras was gunned down inside the lobby by 35-year-old Michael Holt who was armed with a rifle. Officers say after shooting Contreras, Holt turned the weapon on them. At that point, an officer fatally shot him.
One of the hotel guests told FOX 7 they heard 7 or 8 rounds.
"I was pretty frozen with fear. They sounded so close. I stayed put where I was," said Peter, visiting from Phoenix.
Yellow Cab President Ed Kargbo released the following statement Monday:
"The entire Yellow Cab family is mourning for one of our most devoted and caring drivers, Mr. Conrad Contreras. We are heartbroken over the loss of our friend Conrad, a man who went out of his way to help and serve others.
"Conrad loved his job and provided legendary customer service to his riders. Conrad's family and friends, including everyone at Yellow Cab Austin, will miss him deeply. We so appreciate Conrad's devotion to those around him in Austin, his kindness, and his commitment to doing the right thing. We will do everything we can to support Conrad's family in this time of need."
Contreras had been with the company for 15 years and was an army veteran.
"Everyone knows him. He's a people-person," said Ogwu. "We don't know how to describe it. It's shocking and cold for every cab driver."
Ogwu called Contreras a peaceful and happy person. He can't imagine why anyone would want to hurt him.
"That's the $1 million dollar question everybody is trying to put together, how did it happen," said Ogwu. "We wish someone could just tell us."
The officer who fired the fatal shot is identified as Carlos Lopez. Lopez has been with APD for five years and is assigned to the downtown area command. He is on paid administrative leave which is standard.