AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - Austin police are working to identify a homeless man who was killed by another homeless man in downtown Austin Thursday night. Police have arrested Robert Batiste, 63 , for manslaughter.
A witness, who asked to remain unidentified, contacted FOX 7. He says the victim was running on 5th Street "crossing Brazos, and he appeared as if he was being chased by someone. A couple of seconds later, [the man and his wife saw] a male black subject with no shoes on chasing him."
The man says the shoeless man, who is presumed to be Batiste based on photographs, hit the other man -- causing him to fall to the ground. The two then got into a scuffle. "...and the male black subject then begins to choke the male white subject, using both of his hands." the man explained.
The man called 911, before deciding he needed to intervene. "This guy is dying. When I arrived the male white subject is turning, his face is turning blue and starting to go gray. And I know he's gonna die," he says.
He said he had no luck getting the man off the victim.
Eventually, the man chose to get off of him, and he was able to begin chest compressions. "...when an unknown male white homeless or appears to be homeless… starts helping me do chest compressions by doing the mouth-to-mouth breathing portion." he said.
From there, first responders took over but it was too late.
"Looked over and saw EMTs, police cars, fire department. EMTs trying very hard doing CPR on somebody." recalled Cary Champlin, who works at All American Liquors across the street.
Police say they received a 911 call alerting them to the situation at 5:22 p.m. -- by 6:12 p.m. the man was pronounced dead at Dell Seton Medical Center.
Friday, Austin Police said in a press release that the Travis County Medical Examiner was in the process of conducting an autopsy to determine the official cause of death.
The man who asked FOX 7 not to identify him says he's upset, because he believes the death could have been prevented if a nearby security guard had intervened. "If the security guard had stopped the fight initially instead of recording it, this man would be alive there's not doubt about it." he said.
He says the guard, with ACT security, appeared to record the killing, instead of attempting to break things up. He says the guard told him the man, presumed to be Batiste was just "taking back what's his, that's his right." He says he also did not get him a defibrillator, despite his requests.
FOX 7 reached out to ACT security about the guard, who we are not naming.
We spoke with Don Bowne, operations manager.
Bowne said the company was aware of the killing, but had very little information as the incident did not technically occur on property. Though, they ultimately made the decision to file a report on the incident because of its proximity to the property.
When the accusations were brought up, he said he had not heard of them -- but said he does not believe there is a defibrillator in the building the employee was guarding.