Austin ISD is on high alert after two concerning incidents involving their students. The first incident is a possible stalking case and hours later a man reportedly posed as a law enforcement officer in order to board a school bus. Police are searching for the suspect who could be behind both incidents.
The suspect is captured on surveillance boarding a school bus, then driving off in a black Chevy Tahoe. The surveillance photos are what AISD police are heavily relying on.
"I'm m a little freaked out about it," says parent Chris Couch. "It's really freaky. The picture thing is freaky enough and then someone is pulling over a bus twice. Don't understand how that happened."
The first incident was during dismissal at Murchison Middle School. A driver reported a suspicious man taking photos of students using the crosswalk.
Some parents are demanding more police presence.
"It's a concern because my daughter is here, she usually waits for me outside. If this is happening in front of the school, where she's waiting for me, that's a concern," says one parent.
Later that day, AISD Police say a man stopped a school bus at a traffic light in Northwest Austin and attempted to get information about the bus route. At the time, one Anderson High School student was on board.
The bus driver completed the route and dropped off the student. That's when police say the man stopped the bus again by flashing his headlights. This time he got on the bus, saying he was a law enforcement officer.
"I've never seen anyone as brazen, stopping a school bus and entering a school bus here in Austin. I've never had that happen before. So again, this is concerning because this individual did board our bus. Thankfully no students were on board. Not only did they board the bus, they were armed with what appears to be a firearm," says AISD Police Chief Eric Mendez.
When the driver asked for credentials, the suspect peacefully got off the bus and left. Austin ISD sent out a letter to parents as a precaution and AISD police has a warning.
"Anytime a vehicle is attempting to stop you and you don't believe they're law enforcement, you should pull over to a safe location. Don't stop on a dark road, stop at a safe location. Call 911 so that you can communicate with the dispatchers to determine if indeed the vehicle behind you is a law-enforcement vehicle," says Chief Mendez.
The suspect is described as follows:
- White male
- Believed to be in 20's or early 30's
- Around 6 feet tall
- Slender build
- Short brown hair
- Last seen wearing a light red polo shirt tucked into dark colored pants
The suspect is believed to be driving a newer model black Chevy Tahoe, with a full wrap around grille guard and police style wheels.
AISD Police followed buses on their routes Wednesday and will continue to do so until the suspect is found. He could possibly be charged with impersonating a public servant.
If you have information you're asked to contact AISD police at 512-414-1703.
Below is a copy of the letter that was sent to AISD families:
Dear Austin ISD Families,
The safety of all students at Austin ISD is our top priority. With that in mind, we're
writing to let you know about two incidents that occurred yesterday.
During dismissal at Murchison Middle School, a driver reported that a white male in
a red shirt and tan shorts was taking photos of Murchison students as they used the
Later yesterday afternoon, a man with a similar description posed as a law
enforcement officer and pulled over a bus that had one Anderson student on board.
The man attempted to get information regarding the bus route, but the driver
completed her route before talking to the man.
After the driver dropped off the student, the bus was pulled over again and the man
boarded, again asking about the route. The bus driver requested his credentials, at
which point the man got off the bus.
No students were harmed in either incident. The man has not been reported at Doss
or Hill elementaries, but we wanted to share this information as a precaution.
We also want to encourage students and staff to report any suspicious behavior to
Austin ISD police at 512-414-1703. As always, we appreciate your support as we
work together to keep our students safe on and around campus.
Principal Janna Griffin
Doss Elementary School
Principal Beth Newton
Hill Elementary School
Interim Principal Rebekah Van Ryn
Murchison Middle School
Principal Sammi Harrison
Anderson High School