Local reaction to downtown Austin mass shooting that left multiple injured

It was fairly quiet on Sixth Street Sunday afternoon, with only some leftover crime tape pointing to the chaos overnight. Austin resident Michael Coda was back in the area for work, after experiencing a much different scene in the early morning hours.

"I just hear like a, ‘tap, tap, tap,’ sound, and there are a hundred people just rushing towards me," said Coda in an interview with FOX 7 Sunday afternoon.

He had been cutting through Sixth Street early Sunday morning with a friend when the shooting happened.

"I was thinking about the Travis Scott concert, like hundreds of people rushing and crushing me," he said. "All I could think of was to run and get to shelter."

According to Austin-Travis County EMS, a call of shots fired came in over multiple radio channels at approximately 2 a.m., and the first EMS unit arrived at approximately 2:03 a.m.

Special Response Units (SRUS) helped paramedics quickly navigate the crowds and deliver some patients to the Patient Collection Point that was set up on 5th St.

"We had physicians from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer inside that medical tent, beginning the treatment and evaluation of those patients," said Commander Kevin Parker with ATCEMS. "We held them until we had clearance from the Austin Police Department that there was no longer a threat and then those people were immediately transported to the hospital."

Sunday’s shooting came less than a year after a deadly shooting occurred in the same exact area of the entertainment district.

The shooting in June killed one person and left 13 others injured.

"We’ve been practicing since we had the mass shooting, because there were some flaws that night that kept people from being able to respond in an appropriate manner," said Ken Casaday, president of the Austin Police Association.

According to Casaday, APD had more than triple the number of officers patrolling the downtown area this weekend due to South by Southwest crowds.

Sunday’s shooting was the finale to a busy week for them.

"I believe over the last three days they seized over 50 firearms in the Sixth Street area," said Casaday.

Efforts to improve safety in the entertainment district have been ongoing since the summer's deadly shooting.

Most recently, a second round of recommendations were brought forward by City Councilmember Kathie Tovo. The new recommendations, approved by council earlier this month, include encouraging bar owners to write up safety plans and looking into possible legal action by the city against bars with a record of violent incidents.

"None are intended to be a replacement to a strong public safety presence," said Councilmember Tovo, who represents District 9. "But it is an acknowledgment that we need to look at all of the strategies that we have, including physical changes to that space and how we might better address the violence going on from a variety of different angles."

A separate shooting happened downtown three days prior to Sunday’s shooting at around the same time. That shooting happened at 7th St. and Trinity St. and left two people with minor injuries.

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