APD officer cleared of charges in Omni Shooting

A Travis County Grand Jury ruled an Austin Police officer was justified in shooting and killing a gunman inside of the Omni Hotel last summer.

All evidence collected from the scene has been released to FOX 7, which shows what police were facing that night.

It was nearly a year ago when a man walked into the lobby with a rifle. He killed one person and could have hurt many more. He was stopped by a police officer who is being hailed a hero.

"Please send me somebody. There is someone with a gun. He wants to shoot us. Omni downtown," 911 call.

Surveillance video shows the gunman running through the Omni hotel dining area with a rifle in hand, then trying to hide from police. Moments later you see APD Officer Carlos Lopez bring the chaotic situation to an end.

"He could have done more harm if he wouldn't have taken him on. He could have gotten up to a floor on the elevator and killed a bunch of people. Thank God we don't know what could have happened, we just know what happened and that is that Officer Lopez is a hero," says Det. Ken Casaday, Austin Police Association. 

It was July 5, 2015 when Michael Holt entered the Omni Hotel Downtown around 4:30 in the morning. He had a rifle slung over his shoulder and paid for a room.

Then he visited Capital Factory, which is a business inside of the hotel where Holt was renting desk space.
He cases each room while talking to himself. Then he's seen in the corner of a conference room looking down at the hotel lobby.

When he returns to the front desk, the manager reportedly asks him not to openly carry the rifle. That's when things escalate. You see Holt point his rifle at an employee, this is just minutes before he shoots and kills a cab driver who comes through the front doors.

"Someone just got shot," police dash cam video.

That's what police arrive to. As they get closer to Holt, they become the target. Holt runs through the dining area. Then Officer Lopez corners him and orders him to show his hands. Instead, Holt opens fire and Lopez shoots back, killing him.

"A lot of times when you have an active shooter and you know where they're are, we're not trained to sit there and wait. We're trained to take action and eliminate that threat," says Casaday.

On Tuesday Officer Lopez was cleared of any charges related to the shooting. His actions and this situation will be used by the police academy in further training for cadets and officers.

"It was the right person at the right time to be in that situation. We're just very blessed and thankful to still have him here and nobody else in that hotel injured," says Casaday.

Lopez was honored in Washington, D.C. as officer of the year by the National Association of Police Organizations.