AUSTIN, Texas - A close friend is remembering the 51-year-old woman who was shot and killed in downtown Austin last Thursday.
Austin police say Amy Warner was an innocent bystander to a fight that broke out between Hurricane Laura evacuees.
It happened around 12:30 a.m. Thursday on 6th and Brazos Street. The brawl involved two groups, one from Beaumont, another from Port Arthur. After reviewing surveillance footage and witness statements, police concluded that people from both groups drew handguns.
They say one man, 21-year-old Linton Alexander fired his weapon, hitting Warner. “[Warner] by all intents and purposes had nothing to do with this. She was just standing at the wrong place at the wrong time and they shot and killed her," said Lt. Jeff Greenwalt of the Austin Police Department's Homicide Unit.
Warner was taken to Dell Seton Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead around 1 a.m.
“Amy led a rough life but she made the most of it,” said Warner's longtime friend, Linda Addis. “She would be the first one to forgive [Linton] and say you're only 21, it was a mistake.”
Warner was homeless and had been living in the area.
“Reading it and watching on TV, it was ‘a homeless person, Amy Lynn Warner.’ But, there was more to her. There was a lot more to her -- and I want people to remember the love that she gave everybody, the open ear she gave to people, and that chatty mouth that she gave to everybody.” said Addis.
Addis and Warner grew up together in Danville, Illinois. In 2012, Warner and her young son moved to Bastrop County, Texas to live with Addis and her family. Her elder son soon joined them.
“All she wanted was to find a job, to get settled and to be happy,” explained Addis, saying Warner was unhappy in Illinois and struggled due to lack of financial opportunity. Later that year, the Addis family fell into financial hardship of their own. They were forced to couch surf.
“Amy didn't want to be a burden on anybody, no matter how much I told her ‘you're not a burden on us, we will get through this,’ she said 'yeah but if we wasn't here, you guys could do better,'” said Addis. She explained that Warner felt the family could find better places to stay if she and the boys left. She told Warner she was going to live with friends in Austin.
“I don’t know what happened, but about three weeks to a month later I heard she was living on the streets (in Austin) and she wouldn’t come back,” Addis said.
Sitting in her Bastrop County backyard Wednesday, Addis flipped through old photographs of her friend, a 1986 Journey concert, Addis’ 16th birthday party, Warner, in a ruffled turquoise gown for prom in 1988, Warner’s son Brian, and Addis’ daughter Samantha playing together in 2007. The two “were only a month apart, and was raised like brother and sister.” Addis noted.
When Addis looks back at the photos, she says she is reminded of the love Warner had for life, her own children and Addis’ children. “Amy was not just some homeless person. No, she didn't have a roof over her head. She may not have had a bed to sleep on,” said Addis. “She was loved by somebody, she was a somebody.”
Addis says she will always remember her friend as the type of person that “included everybody on everything.” Adding that she was bright, big-hearted and “happy-go-lucky.”
“People in life wanna be able to know before they die that they've touched people and that they've made a difference in this world, and Amy did that,” she said.