AUSTIN, Texas - Austin Police SWAT entered a home on Morrow Street in 2016 to serve a “no-knock” narcotics warrant.
Officers used an LRAD or long range acoustic device to announce they were serving the warrant. Police suspected then 18-year-old Tyler Harrell had been dealing drugs.
Former Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo told us at the time SWAT officers Leighton Radtke and James Pittman entered the Harrell duplex.
"A suspect who was upstairs in the location 'sliced a pie' which means he came around the corner, looked down at the officers with a long rifle and commenced to open fire,” Acevedo said.
Harrell is charged with attempted capital murder of a peace officer and aggravated assault on a peace officer.
Two-years later, in court on Tuesday morning, Harrell pleaded not guilty. Travis County prosecutors told jurors Harrell shot 23 rounds at Officer Pittman with an AK-47. Officer Radtke fired 3 rounds back.
Prosecutors told the jury evidence would be presented of social media posts showing Harrell with drugs, money and that AK.
Harrell’s attorney, Skip Davis, delivered very animated opening remarks saying everything the state said was quote “hogwash” and there are 2 sides to every story.
Davis argued his client shouldn't be treated like a villain for owning the weapon he says isn't illegal to own and that Austin Police could have and should have knocked instead of conducting a covert operation.
Davis told the jury his client and his mother who were home at the time, didn't realize the intruders were actually police. He says some of their neighbors didn't either.