Man in car wounds 4 in North and Central Austin shooting rampage


Highlights

Police say a lone shooter armed with a rifle fired on vehicles at random throughout North and Central Austin.

Four people were injured, including a 7-year-old girl who remains in critical condition at Dell Children’s.

Police: Suspect “appeared to be intoxicated on some kind of substance,” and that remains part of investigation

A lone shooter armed with a rifle fired on vehicles at random as he drove on highways and major roads in North and Central Austin starting about 2 a.m. Saturday, striking vehicles and wounding four people, Austin police said.

One of the injured is a 7-year-old girl who remains in critical condition at Dell Children’s Medical Center.

Police say they have a suspect in custody and that “there’s no continued danger to the public,” but they are not releasing his name. He appeared to be intoxicated, authorities say.

“We do not have a motive for the shootings,” said Joseph Chacon, an assistant police chief. “It appears the shootings are random in nature.”

The shootings began shortly before 2 a.m. and continued for about an hour on multiple roads, including Interstate 35, U.S. 183 and Lamar Boulevard, among others. Police said it appears the suspect was driving and simultaneously shooting at vehicles on the road.

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“I’m going to be honest. It’s a little convoluted,” Chacon said. “We have a lot of crime scenes. We have several people who were injured in this.

“There are a lot of victims and witnesses that we have to interview and obtain statements from and evidence we have to process. This is going to take days and weeks for us to get through this investigation.”

Those injured are a young man who was shot sometime after 2 a.m. near U.S. 183 and North Lamar; and three people in the same vehicle, a 29-year-old man, a 31-year-old woman and the 7-year-old girl, who were riding near Masterson Pass and North Lamar when they were shot around 2:25 a.m.

Other victims reported that the shooter pulled alongside their vehicles and pointed a gun at them but did not fire. One 24-year-old woman said she was near I-35 and 51st Street when the suspect was driving erratically and began to chase her before hitting her vehicle from behind, pulling alongside her and then pointing a weapon at her before driving away.

Shortly after 3 a.m., an officer with the Texas Department of Public Safety found an abandoned black vehicle matching the description provided to police near U.S. 290 and I-35. As the DPS vehicle approached, the officer saw a man “a good distance away” walking away from the vehicle. The officer saw a weapon in the vehicle and notified Austin police. Police searched the area but could not find the suspect and called in the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force.

The Lone Star Fugitive Task Force about 3:45 a.m. found the suspect at a residence that was not his home and took him into custody without incident, Chacon said.

The vehicle is registered to people with whom the suspect is associated, Chacon said.

Chacon said he had no information on the weapon or to whom it was registered, but witnesses described it as a rifle and an assault rifle.

Chacon said the suspect “appeared to be intoxicated on some kind of substance,” and that remains part of the investigation.

“We feel like we have the correct person in custody,” Chacon said. “This person is the only person involved in this and there’s no continued danger to the public at this time.”



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