A domestic disturbance call in northeast Austin ends with a deadly confrontation with Austin police.
Police were sent to the San Paloma Apartments on Tech Ridge Blvd Monday morning in response to a man who was reportedly distraught over a break up with his girlfriend. Residents say they awoke, a little before 8:45 a.m., to sounds of shouting and then gunfire.
"I rolled over and woke up and that’s all I heard was a pow, we thought it was an accident, so I got up and come outside and pow, pow, heard two or three more gun shots,” said Dontae Easley.
The man allegedly was armed with a high-powered rifle that could still be seen still lying in the driveway. The officers, who were first to arrive, called for backup and told residents to seek cover.
"So I opened my garage door, went outside, and one of the neighbors come running outside, said an officer went running upstairs with an AK, trying to get a higher vantage point I guess, or something,” said Bill Johnson.
Officers tried to subdue the gunman by firing less-than-lethal shotguns projectiles at him. But the tactic, according to APD Chief Art Acevedo, didn't work. FOX 7 asked the chief, after all the effort to take the man alive, why it was decided to use deadly force.
"He turned and started running down away from the officer, toward some of the officers and at that point they fired rounds to stop him and to contain him,” said Chief Acevedo.
Several of the officers who were sent to the scene said they were familiar with the gunman. Chief Acevedo said the officers called out to him several times, using his first name, trying to get him to surrender. The police account seems to match what Miguel Lopez remembers.
"I hear the police outside the apartment, he running, I heard the screams, Stop, Stop."
Moments after the shooting Lopez recorded video of officers performing CPR and then loading the man into an ambulance. He would later die from his wounds after being taken to UMC Brackenridge. The two officers who fired the fatal shots were placed on administrative leave with pay, which is standard procedure. The shooting is being reviewed by the District Attorney's office as well as the police monitor.
The chief says there is audio, and video, recordings of the incident, which will go through an internal review. Investigators are also expected to do a gun trace on the high powered rifle that was recovered. A toxicology report is also expected to be done.