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breaking news

Travis County D.A. pursuing charges in 2013 officer-involved shooting

Salvadorian murder suspect accused of assault, Austin police say


AUSTIN

Salvadorian murder suspect accused of assault

A man who police say is wanted for murder in El Salvador is accused of putting a knife in a man’s mouth and threatening to cut him up, according to court documents filed Monday.

Hugo Rolando Sol-Cortez was arrested in Austin on Saturday and faces a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

The victim had been renting a room at a mobile home park when Sol-Cortez and another man busted into the room and began punching and kicking him, an arrest affidavit said.

The document said the two men pulled out handguns and held them to the victim’s head as they asked about text messages sent from his phone to Sol-Cortez’s girlfriend.

The victim told the men the messages were sent accidentally, but they tied him up with a shirt and put a belt over his mouth, according to the report.

At one point, Sol-Cortez put a knife inside the man’s mouth and cut him, the affidavit said.

The pair eventually released the man after he promised he would not call police, but he immediately ran to the mobile home park’s office and called 911.

Travis County deputies arrived and took the two men into custody.

After learning that Sol-Cortez was wanted on a murder charge in El Salvador, he was handed over to the U.S. Marshals Service, the affidavit said.

— Mark D. Wilson, American-Statesman

SOUTHWEST AUSTIN

Police: Teen died after crashing into tree

A 19-year-old died Saturday after crashing his Dodge Charger into a tree in Southwest Austin, according to Austin police.

Police said the teen, who has not yet been identified, was speeding in the 4200 block of Southwest Parkway when he lost control around 8 a.m. and drifted to the left side of the road and hit the tree.

Austin-Travis County EMS medics began performing CPR on the victim and took him to St. David’s South Austin Medical Center. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

The incident was the 13th fatal crash in Austin so far in 2017, police said. The city saw the same number of fatal traffic incidents by the same time last year, according to police.

— Mark D. Wilson, American-Statesman

AUSTIN

202 charged with DWI on SXSW, spring break

Austin police say 202 people were arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated during the department’s “no refusal” initiative that targeted drunken drivers during spring break and the South by Southwest festival.

The initiative, during which it’s easier for police officers to obtain warrants for blood and breath samples from suspected drunken drivers, began on March 3 and ended Monday morning.

Officers targeted drunken or impaired drivers from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. each day.

Among those charged, officers arrested 45 people with a previous conviction or a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 or higher on Class A misdemeanor charges. The blood-alcohol limit in Texas is 0.08.

Police also arrested 14 people with two or more previous convictions or child passengers on felony charges.

— Mark D. Wilson, American-Statesman

NORTH AUSTIN

3 charged in carjacking, jewelry store break-in

It’s taken more than a year, but police on Friday filed arrest warrants for three men who they say were behind a violent carjacking turned attempted jewelry store heist in 2015.

According to court records, Pedro Inez Ramirez, 27, Kevin Scott Starnes, 43, and Jesus Miguel Ochoa, 24, face charges of aggravated robbery and burglary of a building in connection with the Oct. 10, 2015, incident.

A juvenile suspect has also been accused of being involved, but his identity has not been released.

Around 2 a.m., a man said he was carjacked by four people in a parking lot in the 9000 block of the Interstate 35 service road near Rundberg Lane.

He said he was thrown to the ground and kicked in the face. Then one of the men hopped into his truck and drove it away as the others took off in the SUV, the affidavit said.

About two hours later, officers received reports of a burglar alarm at a jewelry store in the 6000 block of Interstate 35. When they got to the store, they found that the stolen truck had been driven through the front of the building.

Police were later able to identify one of the suspects through fingerprints found on a vehicle and used cell phone tracking technology, along with interviews, to tie the others to the crime.

After being arrested, the suspects told police that all the jewelry in the store had been removed from display cases for the night by the time they arrived, so they were unable to make off with anything.

Both Starnes and Ramirez are currently in custody at the Travis County Jail, but Ochoa was not listed as in custody on Monday afternoon.

— Mark D. Wilson, American-Statesman



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