AUSTIN, Texas - Police officers arrested a suspect connected to an overnight mass shooting on East 6th Street near SXSW festivities in downtown Austin, according to the Austin Police Department (APD).
Four victims were shot around 2 a.m. and taken to hospitals Sunday with non-life-threatening injuries, Austin-Travis County EMS said. Officers were on patrol in the 400 block near Toulouse Bar when they heard several gunshots coming from that area, says APD.
A preliminary investigation shows the shooting started as a disturbance between two groups of people, APD says.
APD had seven times officers than normal in the entertainment district because of SXSW this weekend.
"I know they made over 30 arrests and arrested over 19 people with handguns on their persons," said Austin Police Association President Ken Casaday. "So it was a very busy night leading up to the shooting."
It's the second mass shooting in Austin's entertainment district in the past year, which has sparked concerns about safety in the downtown bar area. A teenager from Killeen was arrested for the gun violence that killed one person and injured 13 victims on June 13th, separate from Sunday's mass shooting.
There were approximately 150 APD officers in downtown Austin Saturday night and Sunday morning, Casaday said. APD normally has 20 to 30 police officers staffed to protect the public in the bar district during non-festival weekends. Last week, Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon said officers were being pulled from specialized units to combat gun violence during SXSW.
Police took multiple people into custody following the shooting, and officers announced they had the suspect in custody a few hours later before 5 a.m. Sunday. APD says due to the ongoing investigation, they are not releasing the name of the person arrested.
Officers believe this was not a random act and there’s no danger to the public, says APD.