Drive-by shootings in North Austin neighborhood leave residents living in constant fear

Neighbors on Tuffit Lane in North Austin are living in a constant state of fear after a string of drive-by shootings. 

Resident Joe Ayres says the first shooting happened about a year ago, but says shootings have since ramped up. He says there have been four shootings from April 20 to May 1. Each time, multiple rounds are fired.

Surveillance video captured from his house shows flashes coming out of a car.

"It's really scary coming home and thinking, it's like, 'go to sleep,' five minutes into sleep, 'pow pow pow pow pow,' wake up, can't go back to sleep," Ayres said. "You lose sleep, you're scared, and people's houses and cars are getting tore up."

He says no one has been hurt to his knowledge and that one person has already moved out of a bullet-ridden house.

Neighbors believe the suspects are targeting a specific house, but other houses and cars and also getting hit. Police do respond, but neighbors want more than that.

"I would like more police presence," Ayres said.

"I think just having any sort of presence here within the neighborhood would go a long way," resident Michael Garza said. "It's been really disheartening to know that you clearly see a repetition here, and we kind of feel like it's going to take something even worse happening for something to actually change."

Garza has a young family and says the shootings are affecting day-to-day life.

"We're really having to change what we do on an everyday basis. Basically, once it starts to get a little bit dark outside, my wife is always giving me a hard time about going, doing things in the garage, or being at the front of the house, because we don't know if tonight's the night it's going to happen," he said. 

"I've had neighbors tell me that they talk to their significant other, you know, and say, 'hey, going to happen tonight,' and it's like, 'oh my God,' or the neighbor comes out and says, 'hey, been two days since the last shooting,' that's not a conversation you should be having with your neighbor. 'We made it another two days. Let's try for a third day,'" Ayres said.


Austin Police confirmed they're investigating multiple shots fired calls on Tuffit Lane. 

They say in a statement:

"These incidents are still being investigated. In order to protect the integrity of the investigation, we do not have any further information to provide at this time. If anyone with information or video of the incident may submit a tip anonymously through the Capital Area Crime Stoppers Program by visiting or calling 512-472-8477.

"Additionally, please report any criminal activity to 9-1-1 or to 3-1-1 and for non-emergencies."

In response to the push for patrols, they say this:

"APD officers are constantly patrolling areas and regions of the city proactively; we do not divulge deployment areas due to operational security. Our officers work hard every day to provide a safe environment for the community we serve and protect."