East Austin residents on edge after recent murders

Austin Police have made two arrests, as they continue to investigate three recent murders across the city. Two of the murders happened in East Austin, leaving many residents there on edge.    

Ana Gutierrez owns a food truck in East Austin. She heard a gunshot early Saturday morning, then saw police respond to the scene.

"I'm very scared because I have a son and there are a lot of children who live here. I worry more because of that. At any given moment something could happen to us and we don't know when that will happen," says Ana Gutierrez, East Austin resident.

Officers found the victim, Brandon Grant, lying on the pavement with obvious trauma. Whoever killed him is still on the loose, leaving nearby residents worried about their own safety.

"Well we feel scared of course. I was talking to my family when we saw that on the news," says Graciela Gonzalez, East Austin resident.

Austin Police are also investigating a murder that happened early Monday morning on Loyola Lane. On arrival, officers found Alfred Matthews shot to death in a parking lot. The suspect, Zachary Payne, has been arrested and a murder charge is pending.

"I'm sure it puts residents in that area, it puts them at a higher alert. I know if I were in that community, I would want answers. I would want to see more officers. Any place where community members feel unsafe, that's an issue for us as a police department because our job is to make everyone feel safe," says Sgt. Jerry Bauzon, Austin Police Department, Homicide Unit.

Gutierrez believes this part of Austin has become more violent. In another crime, 14-year-old Axel Loera was reportedly shot to death by a friend after they had broken into a home last month.

"A 14-year-old, and he was the son of my friend. It hasn't even been a month since that happened. It's too much for all of this to be happening at the same time."

APD says it's not just East Austin, murders happen all over the city. There was one early Monday morning at a Northwest Austin apartment complex. Police say Sankirth Gundam was stabbed to death. They've arrested Sai Kurremula, who faces a first-degree murder charge.

"Violence is not the answer, violence perpetuates more violence. What we would like to see as a police department, personally speaking, is the community working together with the police department to settle the crime, bring down the crime," says Sgt. Bauzon.

APD says you can expect to see increased officer-presence on the streets, especially in high-crime areas. If you have any information on these recent murders, you're asked to give police a call.

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