Tony Plohetski

Investigative reporter

Tony Plohetski has been a reporter for the American-Statesman since 2000 and focuses on Austin city government, law enforcement and criminal justice issues. He has chronicled the fallout of controversial police shootings and written about how police labor contracts have allowed officers to cash in thousands of hours in unused sick time upon retirement, costing taxpayers millions of dollars. Most recently, he has exposed flaws in testing of firefighter job applicants and reported on a relatively high rate of DWI case dismissals in Travis County and a staff shortage at Austin's 911 center. He has been recognized by the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors and the American Society of Sunday and Feature Editors. 

Latest from Tony Plohetski

Warrant issued for former AFD lieutenant for improper photography
 An arrest warrant was issued Wednesday for a former Austin fire lieutenant who authorities say set up recording equipment in an area designated for women at a fire station, officials said. Travis County Assistant District Attorney Dexter Gilford said James Baker faces a charge of improper or invasive photography, a state jail felony for which...

Posted: 5 days ago

An arrest warrant was issued Wednesday for a former Austin fire lieutenant who authorities say set up recording equipment in an area designated for women at a fire station, officials said. Travis County Assistant District Attorney Dexter Gilford said James Baker faces a charge of improper or invasive photography, a state jail felony for which...
Texas State fraternity was under investigation before pledge’s death
 The death of a Texas State University student who attended an off-campus social event hosted by a fraternity could result in criminal charges, but no decision will be made until an extensive investigation is completed, San Marcos Police Chief Chase Stapp told the American-Statesman on Wednesday. “Any death in our community we take seriously...

Posted: 5 days ago

The death of a Texas State University student who attended an off-campus social event hosted by a fraternity could result in criminal charges, but no decision will be made until an extensive investigation is completed, San Marcos Police Chief Chase Stapp told the American-Statesman on Wednesday. “Any death in our community we take seriously...
Texas State fraternity death likely to result in criminal charges
 The death of a Texas State fraternity pledge after an off-campus social event will likely result in criminal charges based on a preliminary review of evidence, San Marcos Police Chief Chase Stapp told the American-Statesman and KVUE-TV Tuesday. “I think it is pretty likely we are going to have some kind of criminal case,” Stapp...

Posted: 5 days ago

The death of a Texas State fraternity pledge after an off-campus social event will likely result in criminal charges based on a preliminary review of evidence, San Marcos Police Chief Chase Stapp told the American-Statesman and KVUE-TV Tuesday. “I think it is pretty likely we are going to have some kind of criminal case,” Stapp...
UPDATE: ‘Too early to know’ if criminal charges will result from Texas State fraternity death, San Marcos police say
 3:15 p.m. update: San Marcos police are now saying it’s too early to know if criminal charges will be filed in connection to the death of a Texas State student and Phi Kappa Psi pledge on Monday. “This is an ongoing investigation, and it’s too early to know if criminal charges will be warranted,” said Police Chief...

Posted: 5 days ago

3:15 p.m. update: San Marcos police are now saying it’s too early to know if criminal charges will be filed in connection to the death of a Texas State student and Phi Kappa Psi pledge on Monday. “This is an ongoing investigation, and it’s too early to know if criminal charges will be warranted,” said Police Chief...
Travis County murder defendant who fled is candidate for ‘Most Wanted’
 Federal officials searching for a Travis County murder defendant say he has vanished with no trace of cell phone or credit card use as they work to get him on the FBI’s “Most Wanted” list. Kevin Waguespack is accused of murder in his girlfriend’s 2015 death, but fled after a judge allowed him to remove an ankle monitor...

Posted: 6 days ago

Federal officials searching for a Travis County murder defendant say he has vanished with no trace of cell phone or credit card use as they work to get him on the FBI’s “Most Wanted” list. Kevin Waguespack is accused of murder in his girlfriend’s 2015 death, but fled after a judge allowed him to remove an ankle monitor...
Good guys with guns: Do they help or hurt crime prevention?
 Josh Williams was halfway through his three-mile run along an Austin hike-and-bike trail on the morning of Sept. 15 when a woman’s screams overpowered the music in his earbuds. In the predawn darkness, he ran closer to try to find her. He pointed his flashlight in her direction, then realized she was being attacked. Williams slipped...

Posted: 11 days ago

Josh Williams was halfway through his three-mile run along an Austin hike-and-bike trail on the morning of Sept. 15 when a woman’s screams overpowered the music in his earbuds. In the predawn darkness, he ran closer to try to find her. He pointed his flashlight in her direction, then realized she was being attacked. Williams slipped...
‘Good guys with guns’: How Austin case highlights gun control debate
 Josh Williams was halfway through his three-mile run along an Austin hike-and-bike trail on the morning of Sept. 15 when a woman’s screams overpowered the music in his earbuds. In the predawn darkness, he ran closer to try to find her. He pointed his flashlight in her direction, then realized she was being attacked. Williams slipped...

Posted: 12 days ago

Josh Williams was halfway through his three-mile run along an Austin hike-and-bike trail on the morning of Sept. 15 when a woman’s screams overpowered the music in his earbuds. In the predawn darkness, he ran closer to try to find her. He pointed his flashlight in her direction, then realized she was being attacked. Williams slipped...
Domestic dispute may have prompted Sutherland Springs church shooting
 A domestic dispute involving an estranged couple might have led to the shooting at a church that left 26 dead, officials said Monday, as they described a wrenching crime scene in which parents used their bodies to shield their children from bullets. As the toll at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs began coming into focus for...

Posted: 14 days ago

A domestic dispute involving an estranged couple might have led to the shooting at a church that left 26 dead, officials said Monday, as they described a wrenching crime scene in which parents used their bodies to shield their children from bullets. As the toll at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs began coming into focus for...
Sutherland Springs residents grieve lost neighbors in church massacre
 When someone died in Sutherland Springs recently, the whole town came together to raise money for a proper funeral. That’s the town Terri Smith knew when she stepped out of her car Sunday outside the Valero gas station that houses her restaurant, Theresa’s Kitchen. She heard gunshots. “That’s common,” she said...

Posted: 14 days ago

When someone died in Sutherland Springs recently, the whole town came together to raise money for a proper funeral. That’s the town Terri Smith knew when she stepped out of her car Sunday outside the Valero gas station that houses her restaurant, Theresa’s Kitchen. She heard gunshots. “That’s common,” she said...
Hundreds of shell casings, 15 empty magazines found at church
 6:20 p.m. update: Authorities found hundreds of shell casings and 15 empty magazines at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs after a shooter opened fire there, killing 26 people, including the unborn child of a pregnant woman, officials said at a news briefing Monday evening. According to Texas Department Public Safety regional director...

Posted: 14 days ago

6:20 p.m. update: Authorities found hundreds of shell casings and 15 empty magazines at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs after a shooter opened fire there, killing 26 people, including the unborn child of a pregnant woman, officials said at a news briefing Monday evening. According to Texas Department Public Safety regional director...
Gunman storms into church, kills 26 in Texas’ deadliest mass shooting
 A small community Baptist church at the intersection of two country roads became the scene of the nation’s latest mass shooting when a gunman opened fire on a worship service Sunday, leaving 26 people dead. In what officials said is the deadliest shooting in Texas history, the gunman began his attack on worshippers at the First Baptist...

Posted: 14 days ago

A small community Baptist church at the intersection of two country roads became the scene of the nation’s latest mass shooting when a gunman opened fire on a worship service Sunday, leaving 26 people dead. In what officials said is the deadliest shooting in Texas history, the gunman began his attack on worshippers at the First Baptist...