Crime

Advocates join effort to fix Austin police DNA lab problems

Advocates join effort to fix Austin police DNA lab problems

As lawyers and scientists continue to review hundreds of criminal cases that might have been affected by the Austin Police Department’s now-shuttered DNA lab, members of a stakeholders advisory group have started meeting to evaluate what went wrong and how to avoid mistakes in the future. The lab shut down in 2016 after a state audit found problems with its handling and analysis of evidence...
UT police investigating domestic assault on campus Friday night

UT police investigating domestic assault on campus Friday night

University of Texas police are investigating an aggravated assault that occurred Friday night in an on-campus dorm, officials said in a safety alert. According to police, a UT student reported being assaulted Friday night by her boyfriend, who is also a UT student. The incident occurred in the Jester residence hall, authorities said. Police said they responded and arrested the man. Anyone with information...
Police searching for man that robbed Northeast Austin bank Saturday

Police searching for man that robbed Northeast Austin bank Saturday

12 p.m. update: Austin police are searching for a man who robbed a Compass Bank in Northeast Austin on Saturday, the second time that bank has been robbed this month, officials said. The bank robbery was reported at 9:09 a.m. Saturday at the BBVA Compass Bank in the 5700 block of Cameron Road, police said. Authorities said a man wearing a mask pulled a gun and demanded cash, leaving the scene with...
Police ID teen accused of threats to Akins High School

Police ID teen accused of threats to Akins High School

A 17-year-old accused of making threats to shoot up and bomb Akins High School was released Friday from the Travis County Jail, posting bail on charges that carry the possibility of 10 years in prison, according to court records. After a campus lockdown and police search, Ariel Alex Ramirez Navarro was taken into custody about 10:25 a.m. Thursday at the Southpark Meadows shopping center in South Austin...

Teen pleads guilty to fatal drive-by shooting in Kyle

KYLE Teen pleads guilty to fatal drive-by shooting A Kyle teenager has been sentenced to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to murder in a 2016 drive-by shooting. Jamez Gabriel Sanchez, 17, was arrested for the murder of 18-year-old Natanaell Bardales in 2016. Kyle police say Bardales was shot in the head by a gunman that opened fire from a passing car on April 2, 2016, in the 300 block of Discovery...
JUST IN: Teen pleads guilty to Kyle drive-by shooting, sentenced to 25 years for murder  

JUST IN: Teen pleads guilty to Kyle drive-by shooting, sentenced to 25 years for murder  

A Kyle teenager has been sentenced to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to murder in a 2016 drive-by shooting. Jamez Gabriel Sanchez, 17, was arrested for the murder of 18-year-old Natanaell Bardales in 2016. Kyle police say Bardales was shot in the head by a gunman that opened fire from a passing car on April 2, 2016, in the 300 block of Discovery in Kyle. READ MORE: 16-year-old charged with...
Judge denies motion to toss out key evidence in Judge Kocurek shooting

Judge denies motion to toss out key evidence in Judge Kocurek shooting

Federal prosecutors will be able to use incriminating cell phone records in the spring trial of the primary suspect in the shooting of Travis County state District Judge Julie Kocurek. A defense motion to suppress the records, which authorities say place defendant Chimene Onyeri and two associates in Austin around the time of the November 2015 attack, was denied Friday by U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel...
Teen made threats to Akins High with smoke bombs, ammo, police say

Teen made threats to Akins High with smoke bombs, ammo, police say

Austin police have identified the 17-year-old accused of threatening to “shoot and blow up” Akins High School on Thursday as Ariel Alex Ramirez Navarro. Navarro was booked into the Travis County Jail and charged with making a terroristic threat, a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. After his arrest on Thursday, police seized ammunition...
LATEST: SWAT standoff in Southeast Austin ends without arrest

LATEST: SWAT standoff in Southeast Austin ends without arrest

12:30 p.m. update: Austin police say a SWAT standoff in Southeast Austin has ended, but no one has been taken into custody. SWAT officers had been stationed outside a home in the 6900 block of Villita Avenida in the Montopolis neighborhood after a woman called police to report a domestic disturbance with a man that was possibly armed, police said. When officers arrived, the woman was...
Abbott spares death row inmate’s life, heeding father’s plea

Abbott spares death row inmate’s life, heeding father’s plea

Gov. Greg Abbott agreed Thursday evening to spare the life of death row inmate Thomas Whitaker, announcing his decision less than an hour before the Houston-area man’s scheduled execution. Abbott said a number of factors distinguished Whitaker’s case from 30 other executions that had taken place under his watch as governor, including the pleas of the inmate’s father, Kent Whitaker...
Teen charged with making threats, prompts Akins High lockdown

Teen charged with making threats, prompts Akins High lockdown

A 17-year-old former student was arrested after he “threatened to shoot and blow up” Akins High School on Thursday, the Austin school district police chief said. The teen, who up until two weeks ago had been a student, made threats in person at the school and on a school bus, interim Chief Chris Evoy said. Police seized a magazine and ammunition from him, but no gun, the chief said. The...

Man accused of pulling gun on off-duty cop in road rage incident

SOUTH AUSTIN Man accused of pulling gun on off-duty cop Authorities have accused a driver of pulling a gun on an off-duty police officer in an apparent road rage incident in South Austin, court documents say. Michael Christopher Tello, 21, was booked into the Travis County Jail on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second-degree felony punishable up to 20 years in prison. According...
Police: Man hit woman with pickup after she refused his advances

Police: Man hit woman with pickup after she refused his advances

A man is accused of hitting a woman with his pickup in Leander after she refused his advances toward her, according to an arrest affidavit. Carlos Amozurrutia, 27, of Round Rock was charged with accident involving personal injury, a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The victim said Amozurrutia was giving her a ride home Sunday when he began making unwanted advances toward...
Smithville woman gets 20 years for violating probation in child’s death

Smithville woman gets 20 years for violating probation in child’s death

A Smithville woman with three DWI arrests was sentenced to 20 years in prison for violating the conditions of her probation in connection with her young daughter’s traffic death. A September 2015 crash report shows Jennifer Lynn Zapalac’s blood alcohol level was 0.211 — more than twice the legal limit for driving — when her 7-year-old daughter, Victoria, was killed along a...
Denton man won’t register as sex offender after attack on Austin trip

Denton man won’t register as sex offender after attack on Austin trip

A Denton man accused of trying to sexually assault his adult niece at an Austin vacation home pleaded guilty in Travis County district court on Thursday. Charles Wayne Beverly, Jr., 46, accepted a third-degree felony unlawful restraint conviction in exchange for a deal that will likely send him to jail for 30 days when he is sentenced on April 5. But the victim, Beverly’s 26-year-old niece,...

Arrests target 145 immigrants in Texas with criminal history, ICE says

Immigration authorities on Thursday announced the arrest of 45 people in Austin as part of a wider federal operation earlier this month that targeted undocumented immigrants with criminal histories throughout South and Central Texas. According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, agents arrested a total of 145 people in Austin, San Antonio, the Rio Grande Valley, Laredo and Waco in the seven...
Man accused of pulling gun on off-duty cop in South Austin traffic, affidavit says

Man accused of pulling gun on off-duty cop in South Austin traffic, affidavit says

Authorities have accused a driver of pulling a gun on an off-duty police officer in an apparent road rage incident in South Austin, court documents say. Michael Christopher Tello, 21, was booked into the Travis County Jail on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second-degree felony punishable up to 20 years in prison. According to an arrest affidavit, the off-duty officer was heading...
UPDATE: Senate Democrats urge Uresti to resign his position

UPDATE: Senate Democrats urge Uresti to resign his position

7 p.m. update: State Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman José Rodriguez of El Paso said the group is urging Uresti to step down: “In light of today’s jury conviction of Sen. Carlos Uresti, the Texas Senate Democratic Caucus is calling upon Sen. Uresti to resign his position.” Earlier: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick removed state Sen. Carlos Uresti from his committee assignments after...

Austin police ID man killed in Monday shooting, name officers involved

Austin police have identified a man who was fatally shot during an officer-involved shooting on Monday as 23-year-old Thomas Vincent Alvarez. Police also named seven officers who were placed on administrative leave after opening fire on Alvarez as Matthew Henion, DeAndre Wright, Nicholas Grebhart, Benjamin Rogers, Robert Brady, Rafael Rosales and Khristof Oborski. Henion and Wright, both six-year...
Man charged with shooting Judge Julie Kocurek takes witness stand

Man charged with shooting Judge Julie Kocurek takes witness stand

The man charged with hatching a plan to kill Travis County state District Judge Julie Kocurek unexpectedly took the witness stand Wednesday in federal court as he tried to persuade a judge to toss out cellphone records that put him in Austin around the time of the November 2015 attack. At times playful and at other times uncooperative, Chimene Onyeri, 30, described the events that preceded his arrest...
Man accused of lunging at H-E-B manager with knife

Man accused of lunging at H-E-B manager with knife

A man faces up to 99 years in prison if convicted of lunging at an H-E-B grocery store manager with a knife in Austin after she caught him shoplifting, an arrest affidavit said. Samuel Briseno Jr., 32, of Austin, was charged with aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony. Police were notified at 8:58 p.m. Thursday about the incident at the H-E-B at 14028 U.S. 183 North in Northwest Austin, the affidavit...
Austin police ID man killed in Monday shooting, name officers involved

Austin police ID man killed in Monday shooting, name officers involved

Austin police have identified a man who was fatally shot during an officer-involved shooting on Monday as 23-year-old Thomas Vincent Alvarez. The department also identified seven officers who were placed on administrative leave after opening fire on Alvarez as Matthew Henion, DeAndre Wright, Nicholas Grebhart, Benjamin Rogers, Robert Brady, Rafael Rosales and Khristof Oborski. Henion, a six-year...
San Marcos police arrest man charged with murder in Virginia

San Marcos police arrest man charged with murder in Virginia

San Marcos police on Wednesday arrested a man wanted on a murder charge in Virginia. Police in Axton, Va., reached out to San Marcos police after they learned that 23-year-old Jake Andrew Lewis, the suspect in the shooting death of Eric L. Adams on Feb. 17, may have been in the Central Texas city. Investigators tracked Lewis down to The Metropolitan apartments at 121 Craddock Avenue. Police said...
UPDATE: Driver who fled traffic stop, endangering deputy, arrested, Williamson Co. sheriff says

UPDATE: Driver who fled traffic stop, endangering deputy, arrested, Williamson Co. sheriff says

8:30 a.m. Thursday update: Williamson County authorities have arrested a man who they said fled a traffic stop Tuesday night and almost dragged a deputy for the second time this month, Sheriff Robert Chody said via Twitter. Chody had posted a video of the traffic stop on Wednesday, which showed a white SUV fleeing a traffic stop in the Liberty Hill area, while Deputy Tabitha Horseman and another...
Wimberley man released after jailed by ICE in Hays County

Wimberley man released after jailed by ICE in Hays County

A Wimberley man who was booked into the Hays County Jail on misdemeanor charges and handed over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was released from federal custody on Tuesday. Victor Avendano-Ramirez, 46, was arrested by Kyle police on Jan. 31 during a traffic stop. Police said Avendano-Ramirez had two outstanding warrants for his arrest from 2014 and 2015. One was for driving without a...
NEW INFO: Man arrested after I-35 SWAT standoff now tied to bank robbery

NEW INFO: Man arrested after I-35 SWAT standoff now tied to bank robbery

A San Antonio man who was arrested after a three-hour SWAT standoff with police that closed Interstate 35 Monday night is now accused of robbing a bank earlier this month, New Braunfels police said. Ruben Ramirez Jr., 46, was taken into custody Monday after police said he robbed a Lowe’s home improvement store, led authorities on a chase and refused to stop for officers until they threw...
Commentary: Why Texas classrooms aren’t silent about Florida shooting

Commentary: Why Texas classrooms aren’t silent about Florida shooting

I hate lying to kids. I hate watching a naiveté they think they’ve long outgrown die in their tearless eyes. Most of all, I hate the idea that kids’ lives are worth less than an adult’s political expediency. Because I value kids’ lives, I refuse to lie to them about adults. Hence the end of innocence. It started with the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School...
Fifth UT-area Subway robbery reported in two months

Fifth UT-area Subway robbery reported in two months

An armed robbery occurred Tuesday night at a Subway fast food restaurant on San Antonio Street near West 24th Street, University of Texas police said. At 10 p.m., police said they were looking for the robber, who witnesses described as a man wearing baggy clothing, who might be in his mid-30s.  This is the the fifth Subway to be robbed in the UT area over the past two months. Dietra...
Parole board supports father’s bid to save condemned son

Parole board supports father’s bid to save condemned son

In a rare move, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted Tuesday to recommend clemency for death row inmate Thomas Whitaker, whose father has waged a desperate campaign to halt Thursday’s execution despite his son’s role in the murder of his wife and only other child. After a tense half-hour wait in a room at the Capitol while reporters and supporters looked on, lawyer Keith Hampton...

Man arrested after chase, standoff that closed I-35 in New Braunfels

NEW BRAUNFELS Man arrested after chase, standoff that closed I-35 A San Antonio man was in custody Tuesday after a three-hour SWAT standoff with New Braunfels police that shut down Interstate 35 Monday night. Ruben Ramirez Jr., 46, faces charges of aggravated robbery, evading arrest detention with a vehicle, resisting arrest and parole violation, jail records show. New Braunfels police said they responded...
Suspect dies after police chase, officer-involved shooting, chief says

Suspect dies after police chase, officer-involved shooting, chief says

A man believed to have been involved in a possible kidnapping Monday night is dead after officials say he hijacked a taxicab, led officers on a chase through Southeast Austin and confronted police in a standoff that turned into a shooting. The man, who police have not yet identified, died at the Chateau at Onion Creek subdivision Monday evening after he pointed a gun at officers at least twice and...
Austin gang members plead guilty in killing of 16-year-old

Austin gang members plead guilty in killing of 16-year-old

Three members of the street gang Dove Spring Gangsters have pleaded guilty to federal charges in connection to the 2015 killing of a teenager whose body was found along Onion Creek, according to court documents. Richard Ortega, Orlando Arroyo and Brian Aguayo were scheduled to go to trial Tuesday in Austin for the death of 16-year-old Darian Longoria, but resolved their cases to avoid the potential...
Officials investigate Lockhart High coach after complaints

Officials investigate Lockhart High coach after complaints

Wednesday update: Earlier: Officials are investigating a Lockhart High School coach after administrators learned of complaints against him, the Lockhart school district superintendent said in an email to parents Tuesday. Coach Zach Underwood was placed on administrative leave Thursday, Lockhart Superintendent Susan Bohn wrote. The school district also notified local law enforcement and has notified...
Vitamin Water bottle helps tie suspect to violent Austin robbery, feds say

Vitamin Water bottle helps tie suspect to violent Austin robbery, feds say

A man accused of robbing an Austin convenience store on Feb. 10 was arrested Tuesday after investigators tracked him down using a bottle of Vitamin Water he left behind. Justin Lamar Mitchell, 32, was taken into custody by members of the U.S. Marshals Service’s Lone Star Fugitive Task Force at the Walnut Forrest Inn, 11506 Interstate 35 North, on Tuesday morning. He was handed over to Austin...
Austin developer of Backyard in Bee Cave charged with indecency with a child

Austin developer of Backyard in Bee Cave charged with indecency with a child

An Austin developer at the forefront of a project to revamp the Backyard in Bee Cave was arrested on Tuesday morning and charged with indecency with a child by exposure. Austin police have accused Chris Milam of showing his genitals to a young girl on two occasions in 2017, according to an arrest affidavit. RELATED: Backyard Partners file lawsuit against Bee Cave Milam, 56, told the American-Statesman...
San Antonio man arrested after chase, SWAT standoff that closed I-35 in New Braunfels

San Antonio man arrested after chase, SWAT standoff that closed I-35 in New Braunfels

A San Antonio man is in custody Tuesday after a three-hour SWAT standoff with New Braunfels police that shut down Interstate 35 Monday night. Ruben Ramirez Jr., 46, was expected to be booked into the Comal County Jail after authorities said he had robbed a Lowe’s home improvement store and led officers on a chase before the standoff. Police said he refused to leave his vehicle and threatened...
Police standoff Monday shuts down I-35 in New Braunfels, officials say 

Police standoff Monday shuts down I-35 in New Braunfels, officials say 

Both the north and southbound lanes of Interstate 35 near Schwab Road have been closed while New Braunfels police is engaged in standoff, causing major delays in the area, officials said Monday night.  The scene is still active, police said. No other details were immediately available.
Suspect in police chase, officer-involved shooting died at scene, Austin chief says 

Suspect in police chase, officer-involved shooting died at scene, Austin chief says 

11:30 p.m. update: A man who led officers on a police chase that ended in an officer-involved shooting was pronounced dead at the scene, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said Monday night.  Manley said the incident started at about 5:30 p.m. and took place across three different locations in Southeast Austin.  According to the preliminary investigation, the incident began with a disturbance...

Texas Digest: San Antonio man shot by DPS trooper dies

SAN ANTONIO Man shot by DPS trooper dies A man who shot and wounded a state trooper before a trooper shot him has died. Sgt. Deon Cockrell, a Department of Public Safety spokesman, said 33-year-old Ernest Manuel Montelongo of San Antonio died Monday at a hospital. Cockrell said the trooper who was wounded Sunday should recover. Authorities said that a trooper stopped Montelongo’s car in Guadalupe...

Police: Child, 4 adults shot outside San Antonio restaurant

A masked shooter opened fire on a family waiting to be seated at a San Antonio restaurant, wounding a 6-year-old boy and four of his relatives, police said Monday. San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said shortly after the Sunday night shooting that the boy had been shot in the leg and was expected to survive but that two of the adults’ injuries were life-threatening. He said investigators...
Hundreds gather to hear Austin police officers’ tips on mass shootings

Hundreds gather to hear Austin police officers’ tips on mass shootings

For the hundreds of people who gathered at a North Austin church to receive training on what to do during a mass shooting, Austin police officers had one sobering message on preparation: It’s “when, not if” such violence comes to town. “When it happens, it’s like a tornado,” officer Frank Creasey said. “We’ve been lucky in Austin, Texas,” officer...
Man in his 70s killed in crash near Oak Hill, EMS says

Man in his 70s killed in crash near Oak Hill, EMS says

OAK HILL EMS: Man in his 70s killed in crash A man in his 70s died Monday morning in a crash west of Oak Hill, according to Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services. Medics were sent to the 9100 block of Towana Trail at 10:29 a.m. after receiving reports that a person was pinned inside a vehicle. Preliminary reports indicated that a vehicle slammed into a fixed object. First responders arrived...
Man shot after chase, wounding DPS trooper Sunday has died, officials say 

Man shot after chase, wounding DPS trooper Sunday has died, officials say 

A man injured in an officer-involved shooting and suspected of wounding a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper after a chase through Guadalupe and Bexar counties on Sunday has died, according to the DPS. The man, identified by the agency as 33-year-old Ernest Manuel Montelongo of San Antonio, died on Monday morning at the San Antonio Military Medical Center. The trooper who was wounded during...
Man and woman seriously injured in East Austin stabbing

Man and woman seriously injured in East Austin stabbing

11:30 p.m. update: Three people were taken to a hospital for stab wounds on Sunday night. Police were conducting an investigation underneath and around the Pleasant Valley Road overpass near 7th Street in East Austin. A third person was also taken to Dell Seton Medical Center with injuries not expected to be life-threatening about an hour after two others were rushed by ambulance for critical wounds...
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