Austin Police say man dead after firing at officers

Allison Thomas didn't get much sleep in the wee hours of Thursday morning.  She lives at the Sedona Springs apartment complex in southwest Austin.

"When you wake up out of a dead sleep your brain kind of is still registering what's going on.  And it was really scary, I didn't know whether or not it was a shooter that was near me," Thomas said.

Austin Police Chief of Staff Brian Manley says at 10:28 Wednesday night someone called 911 about a suspicious man with a backpack looking into cars.  Officers found the backpack but no suspect so they left around 11:30.  20 minutes later, another 911 call.  The possible would-be car burglar was back.

"Said that he might be on drugs, he might be high, but that it was the same suspect from earlier," Manley says describing the 911 call.

Police say when officers arrived this time, he ran.  When they caught up with him he wasn't compliant with commands.  They tazed him and he still wouldn't comply.  Manley says a bystander caught what happened next on video.

"What we can see on video is that the suspect very quickly rolls over, produces a handgun and begins firing shots at our officers," Manley said.

After the shoutout with Austin police, Manley says the guy still wouldn't cooperate...even when told he needed medical attention. 

"I heard them yelling 'get down, get on the ground, lay on your side' and heard 2 more gunshots, more officers coming on scene and by about that time within minutes it was over," Thomas said.

Officers managed to get the gun away from him.  The white male believed to be in his 30's was pronounced dead at a south Austin hospital a little before 1 am.

Manley feels his officers did an outstanding job reacting to the supect's gunfire.

"They're absolutely shaken up.  I think they realize how fortunate they are based on the threat that they faced tonight.  But also they know that they've taken a life and that's not anything any of our officers ever want to be involved in," Manley said.

Thomas is also thankful for Austin Police.

"My husband is in public service.  We have friends who are Sheriff's officers and we love them dearly.  We want them to go do their job and clock out and come home," Thomas said.

Austin Police say the 2 officers that used lethal force are on administrative leave during the investigation.  One has been with the department for 2 years.  The other 23 years.

Residents at the Sedona Springs Apartment complex have complained that the gates are permanently open, and they believe that’s how the man got in. “They've never been closed,” Thomas says, adding, “we have buttons for them but there's no need, I took it off my key ring because the gates are open.”

As of Thursday night, one of the gates was closed, but the other remained open. According to Austin Police records, there have been thirty-four 911 calls for this Sedona Springs Apartment complex since the beginning of January. Calls range from: “burglary, terroristic threat, suspicious person, and harassment” to name a few.  The company that owns Sedona Springs, Massachusetts based Northland Investments.

Northland Investments is the same company that owns the Channings Marks Apartment Complex in North Austin. As Fox 7 reported in April, a resident there was attacked. When we reported on that story, the gates there were broken too. Fox 7 went to the Channings Marks on Thursday, and the gates were fixed.

Fox 7 reached out to Norhtland about the gates and their security measures. They did not respond to our request for comment.  

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