Graffiti targets University of Texas professor in domestic abuse case

  • Staff
  • American-Statesman staff
5:57 p.m Monday, Feb. 5, 2018 Local

UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS

Graffiti targets professor in domestic abuse case

Graffiti targeting a University of Texas professor who pleaded guilty in a domestic abuse case was found outside the School of Pharmacy building Monday morning, a UT police official said.

Police discovered the graffiti found outside the building at 3:25 a.m., according to UT police spokeswoman Cindy Posey, and were still working to remove the paint as of Monday afternoon.

The messages sprayed upon a wall and entryway appeared to target UT professor Richard Morrisett. An American-Statesman investigation last month revealed Morrisett pleaded guilty in 2016 to a felony charge of strangling his girlfriend but wasn’t punished by the university, though UT officials concluded he failed to disclose the charges to them, as required by policy. Officials have said they will review the policy following the Statesman’s investigation.

Photos posted on social media show the messages painted in red spray paint reading, “Careful! UT Keeps abusers on staff!” and “Watch your back Richard,” followed by the hammer and sickle symbol. Photos were posted on a student-run Facebook group called the Revolutionary Student Front.

Posey said no suspects have been identified yet.

— Brandon Mulder, American-Statesman

DOWNTOWN AUSTIN

Stevie Ray Vaughan statue vandalized again

The iconic statue of legendary blues performer Stevie Ray Vaughan on the south shore of Lady Bird Lake was vandalized by taggers overnight for the second time this year.

The latest vandalism included a Philadelphia Eagles jersey draped over the statue, along with green spray paint.

The statue was also tagged with graffiti at the end of January.

Taggers wrote in white paint words or possibly initials on the back of Vaughan’s poncho.

— Mark D. Wilson, American-Statesman

TRAVIS COUNTY

Police looking for driver who struck officer

Authorities are asking for the public’s help in identifying a driver in a hit-and-run that injured an Austin police officer.

Police said the officer had been working at the scene of an earlier crash around 9:40 p.m. Saturday in the 3900 block of FM 973 near Texas 71 in Del Valle when he was struck by the vehicle.

The driver stopped briefly but fled from the area, police said.

The officer’s injuries were not considered to be life-threatening, police said.

Authorities said three people reportedly were in the vehicle, which police described as a 4-door, black or dark-colored Honda Accord or Nissan Altima with a cracked windshield.

Investigators are asking anyone with information about the case to call them at 512-974-5789 or Crime Stoppers at 512-472-8477 or text “Tip 103” + your message to CRIMES.

Tips also can be submitted through Austin police’s mobile app, Austin PD, a free download for iPhone and Android devices.

— Roberto Villalpando, American-Statesman

TRAVIS COUNTY

Officials: Person of interest in homicide in custody

A person of interest in the Wednesday fatal shooting of a man just outside the city limits of Manor has been taken into custody on unrelated charges, Travis County sheriff’s officials said.

Sheriff’s officials declined to share details about the arrest while the individual is still only a person of interest.

Deputies responded about 8:40 p.m. Wednesday to 911 calls reporting multiple shots fired in the 12700 block of William Harrison Street. Pedro Gomez, 39, was found dead inside a vehicle parked in his driveway. investigators have said.

Gomez had multiple gunshot wounds, officials said.

— Katie Hall, American-Statesman

SAN MARCOS

Train hit vehicle driven down train tracks

Authorities on Monday said a man who drove his vehicle down railroad tracks in San Marcos over the weekend, tying up downtown traffic, faces a criminal trespass charge.

No one was reported injured in the incident.

San Marcos police responded Saturday around 5:50 a.m. to reports of a vehicle colliding with a train on East Hopkins Street near the San Marcos Activity Center.

According to authorities, 25-year-old Ian Phillip Vaneau had driven his vehicle down the tracks between CM Allen Parkway and East Hopkins before becoming stuck.

Police said Vaneau abandoned his vehicle on the tracks before it was hit by the Union Pacific train. The vehicle was pushed to the East Hopkins rail crossing, where the train eventually stopped.

“The driver escaped, but the collision blocked railroad crossings in San Marcos for hours,” city officials said in a statement Monday.

Crews finished clearing the debris from the crossing by 8:30 a.m., but the train had blocked traffic on East Hopkins, CM Allen Parkway, Guadalupe Street and LBJ Drive.

— Roberto Villalpando, American-Statesman