Austin police detail assault by homeless man in gas station
AUSTIN, Texas - "Fighting Orange" is the name of a Central Austin convenience store near UT.
According to an arrest warrant, Austin police say 49-year-old Michael Pasley, described as a "known transient," came in Friday morning and started grabbing items: a beer, a pair of sunglasses and a T-shirt.
The owner said he made comments to Pasley about paying but the man appeared to be intoxicated. He confronted him, trying to get him to put the stuff down. Pasley got angry and started throwing punches at the owner, hitting him in the jaw.
The clerk called the police. Pasley is charged with robbery by assault.
A second situation involved 66-year-old Curtis Randle. Police paperwork describes him as "transient" and staying in a room at the Woodspring Suites on I-35.
The first victim, a man, told police he was trying to open the door of his room when Randle threw him to the ground and stole his wallet.
Minutes later, a woman, the second victim, came running to police officers already on scene investigating the robbery. She told them Randle, whom she considered a friend, was in his room looking through a wallet when he put a plastic bag over her head and pushed her to the ground. "He tried to kill me," she told officers.
The robbery victim recognized Randle. He's charged with robbery by assault and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
"They've grabbed my cell phone, they tried to take the computer," said Julie Nowlin, owner of Jeweled Salon in Central Austin near UT.
She says the front window of her shop has been broken, and her cell phone stolen in the past.
Last week, Nowlin tweeted a surveillance image of what she describes as a homeless man entering the salon.
"He started looking at my computer and he started to walk around towards my computer and that's when I said 'I'm going to call the police' and he left," Nowlin said.
Governor Greg Abbott retweeted Nowlin, saying he's working on a plan to quote "clean this up and need to know where to prioritize."
"We were very surprised because the Mayor doesn't even notice us," Nowlin said.
Former Austin and current Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo responded to Abbott saying "a significant increase in mental health and addiction treatment and bedspace would go a long way in addressing this national/state crises. Hopefully we can stop spending limited State funding on the border & prioritize our health & education."
Nowlin feels many business owners are going through the same challenges she is. She feels the ordinances should be rolled back to the way they were.
"You know they say 'small business is encouraged and women-owned businesses are encouraged' well where are our safety measures? You know if we are a women-owned business are we supposed to have a gun? Are we supposed to have a door that buzzes people in?" Nowlin said.
Abbott chimed in on the ordinance debate last week telling Mayor Steve Adler to "fix it" by November 1.
Even Austin Police Chief Brian Manley told the press he'd asked the Mayor to put the old ordinances back in place until they figure out a plan.
Adler doesn't appear to be budging.