AUSTIN, Texas - The City of Austin is experiencing record-breaking violent crime.
Two people were killed and one man is in the hospital following two reportedly unrelated shootings in East Austin Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.
Austin Police say the first incident happened at Givens Park around 8:30 p.m. One person was shot and killed. Senior Patrol Officer Demetri Hobbs told FOX 7 Austin several people witnessed the shooting but were not cooperating with the department.
"As soon as gunshots came off [witnesses] fled the scene and nobody's come forward yet. So, anybody that knows anything please call detectives and let them know what you know," said Hobbs.
The second shooting happened in a residential area on Meadow Bend Drive off of FM 3177 around 3 a.m. Thursday. Officers found a man in his twenties in the street. He had been shot several times. First responders tried unsuccessfully to save his life.
"I saw crime scene tape everywhere and there was a body laying in the street," said Donna Carter, who lives a few houses down from the shooting.
Carter and her neighbors questioned why the young man’s body was left visible on the street for four to five hours. "It was just shocking to me to come outside and see a body," she said.
About two blocks from Carter’s home police found another man alive with gunshot wounds. He was rushed to Dell Seton and immediately underwent surgery. Hobbs told FOX 7 Austin his injuries were "life-threatening."
"There were crime scene evidence markers showing the path where he ran," explained Carter. She showed FOX 7 Austin a bullet she found in her own vehicle, which was parked just a few feet from her home.
"My mom, elderly mother lives here, and my nephew who's in his early twenties — so that was really scary… the world's become a very violent place," she said.
The two killings put Austin at 41 homicides for 2021. Just six months into the year, the city has already surpassed it’s homicide totals for 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 which are as follows:
- 2021: 41 (as of June 24)
- 2020: 48
- 2019: 33
- 2018: 32
- 2017: 27
The city’s population has grown approximately four percent over the past five years. Meaning overall, the homicide rate is increasing faster than the city’s population.
"I left a domestic violence situation. I left my ex-husband in De Soto to come here thinking that this was going to be safe. So this is just sad to me, very sad." said Carter.
Austin is now one of 15 U.S. cities that will work with the Biden administration to reduce gun violence. The announcement came about a week after 27 mayors, including Austin Mayor Steve Adler, sent a letter to the federal government asking for more action to reduce gun violence. The letter stemmed in part from four mass shootings that occurred in a six-hour period, one of which happened on Sixth Street.
"Violence is never an answer, and I’m just praying for… the family of the man who is still fighting for his life in the hospital, praying for the family members of those who have lost their loved one and just praying for our city that we will find peace here again," said Carter.