One year after downtown shooter, APD officers speak

November 28th is the one year anniversary of a man's shooting rampage that left more than 100 bullet holes in Austin Police headquarters.

In this Crime Watch, FOX 7's Noelle Newton speaks with the men who confronted what they call a "lone wolf terrorist" and "ended the threat" without anyone getting hurt.

On Black Friday of 2014 dash cameras capture the sound of fully automatic gunfire at APD headquarters and Sgt. Adam Johnson's voice as he alerts dispatchers.

Then, it is the single shot from Johnson that brings the gunfire to a stop.
 
That suspect was 49-year-old Larry McQuilliams. Before stopping at APD, police say he fired shots at a bank, the federal courthouse and the Mexican consulate. McQuilliams left behind a map of 30-plus targeted locations and a car full of ammunition and IEDs. He was wearing a ballistic shield and had the words "let me die" written across his chest.
 
The heroism of that morning wasn't limited to Johnson. It was a team effort involving other mounted patrol officers who put themselves in the line of fire. 
 
Almost a year to the day Johnson, Officer Richard Hubbard and Officer Mike Wade re-tell a story with a theme of divine intervention.
 
"There was no doubt that night that there was something else at work in putting us where we needed to be and doing what we needed to do. I don't know why I was us. I don't either. But it was and I know. I felt it," said Johnson.
 
The first instance of fate came when the 6th Street party crowd cleared earlier than usual.  The mounted patrol unit then took a different route back to APD headquarters. Their normal path would've put them straight into McQuilliams.
 
Just as McQuilliams is captured on surveillance video parking his van in front of APD, the mounted patrol unit is seen walking up to their trailer. You can tell when the shots begin by the reaction of the horses.
 
"We had to stop the threat," said Wade.
 
Wade runs down 8th street toward McQuilliams. Hubbard goes around the APD garage to the frontage road. He is at McQuilliams' back.
 
Johnson stays in place, holding the reigns of two horses.
 
"When I looked down there I could see muzzle flashes three feet long from his gun pointed at the main. I just remember this sinking feeling just knowing there's people inside there," said Johnson.
 
As he's radioing to dispatchers, Johnson says a shot strikes above him--shrapnel hits one of his officers.
 
"I said 'well, that's enough of that. I just unholstered. I could see him standing there right next to his driver's door. I said 'well, it's a long shot, but I've got a shot and nobody else had shot.' So, I took the shot and he went down," said Johnson.
 
The shot was unbelievable even to Johnson.
 
"I actually had an argument after the shooting with my support officer I was like that wasn't that far he said that's a lot farther than you think," said Johnson.
 
APD Ballistics Examiner Dale Justice measured the distance as 312 feet. 
 
"I was surprised it was able to be done with a pistol at night in the dark with all the commotion going on. That's a remarkable shot to be made," said Justice.
 
"I remembered after we all got back together I had to put my hands on each one of them and hug them," said Johnson.
 
Johnson, Hubbard and Wade were awarded the medal of valor. It's the department's highest honor.
 
They return to the scene every weekend for their shift changed in their own way.
 
"There's a lot of trivial stuff now comparatively speaking. Nobody's bleeding. Let's move on," said Hubbard.
 
"I know I'm much more aware of what's going on," said Johnson. "Much more aware of people around us, cars driving by us. Everything makes me pay attention to it now. That's how I've been changed. I don't ever want this situation to sneak up on me. "
 
The official anniversary falls on a Saturday this year. None of them plan on staying home.
 
"You can't let it stop you from doing your job," said Wade. "If they can't rely on us, it's chaos. We'll be there for them. They might not like us all the time, but it doesn't matter. We've got a job to do. It's a passion."
 
The mounted unit hasn't ever trained with firearms or loud noises to simulate firearms. They also haven't trained for an active shooter situation. They plan to both now. They will develop a tactical response should they ever encounter the situation again.
 
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