APD Chief pledges more security after weekend of shootings

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley has pledged to add more security to Austin's entertainment district after a weekend of shootings as SXSW came to an end.

Sunday (3/17) there was an officer involved shooting that happened just hours after another shooting East 6th Street.

Those two shootings came after there were three separate shootings on Saturday (3/16) in which five people were taken to the hospital.

The officer involved shooting happened at the Gulf gas station and convenience store on 7th Street and the I-35 west frontage road. 

Akbar Momin has owned the store for decades and he and dozens of helping hands from the community spent Sunday morning cleaning up shattered glass.

"There are good people my customers always help me," Momin says.

Momin says around 3 a.m. he heard shots. "Loud noise everybody got on the ground." 

Several customers were still inside the convenience store when a bullet hit the store's window.

"Never heard gunshots out here before but once we saw the bodies of people running we were like hey we need to hunker down and protect ourselves," says Brandon Harris.

Those same bullets that Momin and his customers were ducking to avoid wreaked havoc on the roads.

It all started due to a minor crash. According to police, HALO surveillance cameras caught a dark colored Maserati Levante and a Chevrolet Monte Carlo with white racing stripes on its hood get into a minor collision at Neches and Seventh Streets.

The two cars continued to drive until they stopped near I-35 and 7th Street. Police say two men from the Maserati walked over to the Monte Carlo and started punching the driver.

Authorities say the driver of the Monte Carlo opened fire, hitting at least one of the men, who then began shooting back.

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley says one of the suspects appeared to have been shot during the altercation.

"Those individuals run back to their vehicles one appears to have been shot in the manner that he's doubled over and he then pulls out a pistol from his waistband," says Chief Manley.

Chief Manley says multiple officers responded.

"The suspect at that point fired at the officers," says Chief Manley.

Police say they fired back at the shooter. The area was still crowded with people waiting in lines for SXSW after-hours parties.

Cameron Barton works at Scratchouse, a local bar located on East 7th street and says he heard the gun shots.

"I was thinking it was gunshots and then once it rang out again, I knew it was gunshots for sure. And so then we started to worry about the safety of our customers, so we were trying to get them inside," says Barton.

Officials say both cars drove off. One of the vehicles, the Maserati, was found in East Austin with a dead body inside. While it hasn't been confirmed, police believe the body is one of the people involved in the shooting.

Police are still looking for the other vehicle and two other suspects.

One bystander was hit by gunfire and suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Chief Manley addressed the multiple shootings that took place over the weekend and pledged to add more security to the city's entertainment district. He said "this is unacceptable. We are not going to let our entertainment district be turned into a place where shootings become the common occurrence."

The chief also says he will be putting together a plan that ensures more police presence.

That's something Momin and local residents say they stand behind.

"Akbar is a small business owner and the fact that we as a community as Austinites can come here on a Sunday morning pick up trash pick up the glass. Basically pick up the mayhem left by someone else. It's a testament to our city it's resilience," Harris says.



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