Police say Zachary Anam was able to reach into his waistband, grab a pistol and shoot himself.
Tuesday, Interim Chief Brian Manley gave a clearer picture of what happened. Police say the teen was able to lean over in the back of the patrol car, grab a Glock 380 and shoot himself while still in the car. Police say the ordeal began at the Macy's department store at Barton Creek Mall where Anam was accused of shoplifting.
“These were the loss prevention officers who work for Macy's, who had taken Mr. Anam into their custody,” said Chief Brian Manley, Austin Police Department.
Austin police officers arrived and say they also found a controlled substance on him. Since Anam had no identification, they decided to take him to headquarters downtown. Police say once downtown on the 500 block of Lavaca Street, Anam began making suicidal comments.
“Once Anam had the conversation with Officer Wall, Officer Wall immediately put out over the radio that he had a gun and exited his vehicle, as did Officer Ricker,” said Manley.
That's when Anam was able to maneuver his arms while still handcuffed, grab a Glock 380 from his waist, and shoot himself in the head, in the back seat. He later died Monday at UMC Brackenridge. Manley says it is protocol to search a suspect before entering the patrol car,
“We do have a belief on whether or not he was searched the acuity of that search is what we will have to look at as we go through this investigation,” said Manley.
Both Officer Iven Wall who was in the car with Anam, and Officer John Ricker who followed behind Officer Wall, are on administrative leave. According to APD, Wall, who has ten years of service with the department is a Medal of Valor recipient for his actions involved in the 2014 APD headquarters shooting. Ricker has been with the department for six years, and faces an excessive force lawsuit for a 2013 officer-involved shooting. Manley has not stated if the officers violated policy or if there will be any further punishment.
“We have not yet interviewed officer wall. It would be inappropriate for me to put any information out at this time because I do not want to influence his statement,” said Manley.
Anam’s friends say mounting legal pressure could have driven him to suicide.
"He was in some legal trouble at the time. So I had a conversation with him. I said Zac what are you going to do?" said Brandon Brammer, Anam’s friend.
“At the end of the day we have a family who lost their son, a young son while he was in our custody,” said Manley.