Several Austin police officers said they thought they were going to die when a gunman unleashed a hail of bullets in their direction in East Austin last month, according to court documents filed last week.
A group of officers had gathered to investigate a vehicle during a traffic stop March 4 near Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Chicon Street about 2:48 a.m. when they heard gunfire coming from a Shell gas station nearby, police said in an arrest affidavit filed Thursday.
After the first shots were fired, two men ran away from the gas station but toward the officers, the affidavit says.
The men obeyed one of the officer’s commands and raised their hands, but a second volley of gunfire began streaking through the air over the officers’ heads, the document says.
Two of the officers hit the ground to avoid being struck while others took cover.
A sergeant at the scene said he saw muzzle flashes coming from the gas station and could hear bullets whizzing above his head, the affidavit says.
According to the report, the sergeant told a fellow officer that “in his 20 years that this was the closest to dying that he’s felt as an officer. (The Sergeant) also stated that he felt the officers under his supervision that night were going to get hurt or possibly die due to the gunfire.”
Another officer who was in his patrol vehicle when the shooting started said he was sure they were being ambushed because of the amount of gunfire. All the officers were in full uniform at the time, and the lights on some of their vehicles were flashing.
One of the two men who had run from the gas station was wounded in the arm. None of the officers was injured, and the affidavit did not indicate whether any vehicles were damaged.
Investigators pulled surveillance footage from the gas station. According to the affidavit, the video showed the wounded man draw a handgun and shoot at a group of men standing around a Corvette at the station.
After he fired, the men in the group also pulled out guns and fired at him as he ran toward the officers, the affidavit says.
A witness told police he knew one of the men in the group who fired their weapons as “Chase.” Investigators later identified that person as Chase Collins, 24.
Collins was arrested on an unrelated charge of driving with a suspended license after police identified him as a suspect in the shooting.
Investigators brought him to Austin police headquarters for questioning, and he admitted being involved, the affidavit says.
Collins told police he fired at a man who shot at him first and didn’t know exactly how many rounds he fired.
Police said several pedestrians were in the area along with vehicles that sped away after the shooting.
Collins has been charged with four counts of aggravated assault against a public servant and one count of deadly conduct. He was in the Travis County Jail on Monday with bail set at $350,000.