Update: Police have confirmed the identity of the shooting victim as 19-year-old Zachary Khabir Anam. Anam has died due to his injuries.
The Austin Police Department is investigating how a man was able to shoot himself in the back of a patrol car Sunday afternoon.
Police say they were stopped at the stop light at 6th Street and Lavaca when the man apparently pulled out a pistol and told the cop he was going to shoot himself.
It all began with a shoplifting call that took a turn for the worse. Austin Interim Police Chief Brian Manley said it started at Barton Creek Square. An officer was having a hard time identifying the man in his late teens or 20s.
"Through investigation they came up with a name they thought he might have been and this individual had several felony warrants. For that purpose he was placed in the backset of one of our patrol cars," Manley says.
The suspect was handcuffed and on the way back to APD headquarters when the situation escalated.
Manly says, "The individual in the backseat was discussing suicidal ideations. The officer inquired whether he had the means. The individual stated that he did and he removed a pistol, appears from the back of his waistband, placed it toward his head wile still handcuffed, was able to pull his hands around to the side and place it to his head."
Manley says the 11 year veteran officer immediately got out of his car when he realized the man had a gun.
The entire scene played out in front of a crowded bar.
"The officers were trying to get the people a safe distance away from the scene while actively handling what was happening," Manley says.
Within minutes, Manley says the man pulled the trigger and was taken to the hospital with life threatening injuries.
No one else was hurt in the incident, something Manley says is fortunate under the circumstances.
"If this individual had chosen to remove his weapon and fire at the officer instead without saying something we could be here discussing a very different incident, here today," Manley says.
The man was arrested for shoplifting and possession of a controlled substance.
As for how the man was in possession of a gun while under arrest, Manley says they are investigating if a search took place when he was arrested. He says a search is normal procedure.