Texas shooting spree: Austin police identify victims found in SW Austin home

The Austin Police Department has identified two people whose bodies were found in a home in Southwest Austin on December 5.

The two are believed to be victims of 34-year-old Shane James, who is suspected of killing four other people in Austin and Bexar County as well as injuring two officers and a cyclist

APD says 56-year-old Katherine Short and 30-year-old Lauren Short were found dead inside the home in the 5300 block of Austral Loop after police got a call about a burglary in progress around 6:48 p.m.

James has been charged with capital murder by terror threat/other felony and capital murder of multiple persons which are both first degree felonies.

What happened to Katherine and Lauren Short?

Court documents reveal more about what happened to Katherine and Lauren Short.

At around 6:49 p.m., officers responded to a burglary call from a person who said he was viewing a live feed of his surveillance system and that he saw a person actively breaking into his home. The caller said his wife and his special needs daughter were inside.

An Austin Police Department detective arrived at the home and saw a person inside the home who was attempting to flee from the back of the home. The detective ran to the back and the suspect began shooting at the detective. The detective was hit multiple times by gunfire.

The suspect then went into the home's garage and stole a vehicle. A pursuit then began that reached speeds of up to 90 miles per hour. 


The pursuit ended when the suspect lost control of the vehicle and hit another vehicle at SH 45 and FM 1826.

Officers placed the driver in custody. The driver was later identified as James. James was searched and officers found a handgun in his waistband as well as two handgun magazines in his pocket.

While the pursuit was happening, officers entered the Austral Loop home and found Katherine and Lauren Short inside. Both had apparent gunshot wounds and despite life saving measures, both were pronounced dead at the scene.

The court documents state that authorities reviewed surveillance video from the home and were able to confirm the person captured on the video was James.

Who is Shane James?

More information is coming out about Shane Matthew James, Jr. Jail records show he was booked into the Travis County Jail around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday on capital murder charges as well as an outstanding warrant for assault with injury, family violence.

"The family stated that James does not belong in jail. He has mental health issues," Bexar County Sheriff’s Office Sheriff Javier Salazar said.

Further charges are pending, according to police.

James was previously arrested in January 2022 on three misdemeanor assault charges where the victims were believed to be his parents and a sibling. According to Sheriff Javier Salazar and Bexar County booking records, James was bonded out by the Texas Organizing Project on March 7, 2022. The next day, he cut off his ankle monitor, becoming a wanted man for violating his probation.

"The events that have unfolded are devastating, and we recognize the pain and suffering this incident has caused. We take our responsibilities seriously and acknowledge that we must address the immediate impact of this tragedy and the broader implications of our bond program," said the Texas Organizing Project in a prepared statement.

"This was a case that anybody would have put him on bond, that’s not unique and it was a low bond that is typical for the type of case he was on bond for," Criminal Defense Attorney Amber Vazquez said.

Since, a new law went into effect in September that makes it a felony to remove an ankle monitor.

The last altercation he had with law enforcement was in August 2023 when deputies received a call for a mental health episode at a home on Port Royal Street in San Antonio where it’s believed James lived with his parents. Deputies did not take him into custody to avoid a possible "violent confrontation."

"If it were a felony warrant, absolutely, they’ve got the ability to go in and go after this person but in this instance, these are misdemeanor warrants and we have very limited authority," Sheriff Salazar said.

Prior to these recent charges, James was arrested for a misdemeanor in Tarrant County in 2017.

According to his LinkedIn profile, James served in the U.S. Army from 2013 to 2015. Sheriff Salazar said James left the military due to some kind of domestic violence incident during that time.

What happened on Dec. 5 and 6?

The spree is believed to have begun around 10:40 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5 when an Austin ISD police sergeant reported they had been shot in the leg in the parking lot of Nelson Field, across the street from Northeast Early College High School. The school was placed on lockdown as police searched for the suspect. 15 law enforcement agencies responded to assist.

"The minutes were passing by so slow, it was scary," Northeast Early College High School Isis Garza said.

Then, around 11:59 a.m., police received multiple 911 calls about a shooting in the 7300 block of Shadywood Drive, near South First and William Cannon. FOX 7 Austin was told that the suspect saw a handyman sitting in his car in front of a home and shot the man through the passenger window. 

A woman inside the home where the handyman was working came outside to see what happened. The suspect then chased her down the road, caught up with her, and shot her. 

The suspect then returned to the car the handyman was in, threw the man out of the car and stole it, a FOX 7 Austin source said.

The woman and the handyman have since been identified as 24-year-old Sabrina Rahman and 32-year-old Emmanuel Pop Ba.

"These two people are the most docile people," Sabrina’s Uncle Marshall Hussain said.

Around 5:57 p.m., police say a 39-year-old male cyclist was shot in the 5700 block of West Slaughter Lane. His injuries were non-life-threatening.

Later, after the suspect was taken into custody, the Bexar County Sheriff's Office arrived at James' home on Port Royal Street and found water coming out of the home. When they entered the home, they found the bodies of James' parents, 55-year-old Phyllis James and 56-year-old Shane James, Sr. inside the home. Both victims suffered gunshot wounds to the upper body.

Deputies believe James killed his parents between 10 p.m. Dec. 4 and 9 a.m. Dec. 5, before his shooting spree in Austin.

"The suspect is in custody and no longer poses a threat to our Austin community," Austin Interim Police Chief Robin Henderson said.

James is being held in the Travis Count Jail on multiple capital murder charges.

FOX 7 Austin's Rudy Koski, John Krinjak, Angela Shen, Tan Radford, Amanda Ruiz, and Carissa Lehmkuhl contributed to this report.