Chief Art Acevedo of the Austin Police Department hopes an incident caught on camera where a police officer was shot will help the public have a better understanding of their actions of getting physical with suspects resisting arrest.
“It's really easy for us to jump to conclusions, and demonize officers when they are trying to gain control of a resisting suspect,” he said.
The Sunday morning shootout in Downtown Austin sent the nine year Veteran APD officer to the hospital. The gunman died at the scene.
Chief Acevedo said in a press conference Sunday afternoon that it started when a 22-year-old security guard saw a white man in his 30s on surveillance cameras acting suspicious. “He believed that he was actually burglarizing vehicles breaking into vehicles.”
The security guard went to investigate when a foot chase started on West Avenue, and ended with the security guard knocking the suspect down in the parking lot of Frank and Angie’s Pizzeria. A solo APD officer responded to the call and said the man was resisting arrest, and the officer asked the security guard to help.
“You can see on the ground when the officer asks the young man here that works here for help. He's the first one that sees the gun, and yells gun and disengages and that’s when our officer, you can see him getting shot by the suspect (and) immediately returned fire.” Chief Acevedo said.
The officer was shot right below his vest, but is expected to be okay.
The entire incident was caught on the dash camera of the patrol car, which Chief Acevedo said he’s happy the public will get to see it. “Really looking forward to the day we can release this video so people can learn to see why when officers are struggling with an individual on the ground. When they are struggling with an individual on the ground and the suspect isn't showing their hands.”
He said this case is the perfect example of why officers so aggressively take physical action.
“When somebody doesn't want to show you their hands, they're usually secreting or hiding or going for one of three things. That's guns, knives, other weapons or drugs that they are trying to ditch or hold.”
The officer who has not yet been identified will be put on administrative paid leave, pending the investigation.