BLOTTER: Officials ID officers, victim in police shooting last week


Officials ID officers, victim in police shooting

Austin police on Friday confirmed the identity of a man officers shot and killed in the early morning of Aug. 17 as 21-year-old Aquantis Jaymond Griffin.

The Austin Police Department also identified the eight officers who shot at Griffin as Stephen Johnson, a four-year veteran of the force; Joseph Cast, a four-year veteran; Daniel Mathis, a four-year veteran; Alberto Martinez, a three-year veteran; Wesley DeVries, a six-year veteran; Joseph Moran, a one-year veteran; Justin Halbach, a three-year veteran; and Christopher Salacki, a five-year veteran.

A ninth officer, Lewis Holland, a four-year veteran, fired his stun gun at Griffin, police said.

All nine officers have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard Austin police protocol.

The officers were responding to reports of a confrontation and shots fired at a bar at the 300 block of E. Sixth St. When they arrived, police say the officers saw Griffin toward them while holding a gun. Officials say the officers shot him after he ignored commands to drop the weapon.

No one else was injured in the incident.

— Mark D. Wilson, American-Statesman


Deputies in ambush won’t face charges, DA says

Hays County sheriff’s deputies who shot and killed a man suspected of ambushing them in a shotgun attack in Wimberley last year will not face criminal charges, the Hays County district attorney’s office said Friday.

According to the DA’s office, authorities concluded that the Nov. 24 shooting of Rocky West was justified as both self-defense and defense of other officers.

The incident began around 3:30 a.m. when deputies received a 911 call reporting a suspicious person with a gun in the Spoke Hollow area in Wimberley.

The district attorney’s office said the caller told authorities the person was wearing a black hoodie with a bandana over his face, and that he heard glass breaking around Jean’s Antiques, located at 11552 RR 12. The caller hung up and didn’t answer returned calls.

Deputies Adam McLeod, Brian Bedingfield and Benjamin Gieselman arrived a few minutes later but didn’t find any signs of broken glass or a suspect. They did, however, learn that the earlier 911 call came from a number associated with West.

Deputy Matthew Abbott and Sgt. Jon Craigmile arrived to back the other deputies up in the 500 block of Spoke Hollow.

The district attorney’s office said that as deputies began to approach a house nearby, West opened fire with a shotgun from behind a rock wall.

Deputies moved for cover and exchanged fire with West for about 30 seconds.

Gieselman was hit in the legs, torso and arms with shotgun pellets, but suffered injuries that were not considered life-threatening.

West fell dead behind the wall out of view, officials have said.

“Any reasonable officer, finding him or herself in such a trap, would have feared death or serious bodily injury for himself and his or her fellow officers,” the district attorney’s office said in a statement.

A Hays County Grand Jury heard the case on Aug. 15, and opted not to bring charges.

— Mark D. Wilson, American-Statesman

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Officials: Man shot, critically injured

A man was shot and killed in North Austin late Friday, Austin police said.

Senior police officer Christopher Irwin said dispatch began receiving calls at 10:20 p.m. about a shooting in the 1600 block of Mearns Meadow Boulevard, which is near Cook Elementary School off Rundberg Lane.

Officers and Austin-Travis County EMS medics responded and found a man, later identified as 23-year-old Jonathan David Rogers, with a gunshot wound, officials said.

Medics revived him and took him to Dell Seton Medical Center with critical and potentially life-threatening injuries, EMS said. He died from his injuries at 11:13 p.m., police said.

Police have located and interviewed witnesses, and are asking anyone with additional information to contact homicide detectives at 512-477-3588, Crime Stoppers at 512-472-TIPS, or text “Tip 103” plus a message to CRIMES. People can also submit tips through the Crime Stoppers or the Austin police mobile apps.

— Mary Huber, American-Statesman


EMS: 1 killed, 1 injured in fiery rollover crash

One person was killed and another seriously injured in a fiery rollover crash that happened early Saturday in Southeast Austin, Austin-Travis County EMS officials said.

Medics said they responded at 1:24 a.m. to the crash in the 1500 block of Texas 71 East, near the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Medics said the vehicle had gone up in flames and one person, most likely an adult, was pronounced dead on the scene.

Another man was taken to St. David’s South Austin Medical with serious and potentially life-threatening injuries, EMS said.

It is not clear what caused the crash, medics said.

— Mary Huber, American-Statesman


Police: Student said he had weapons for school shooting

One of the three Taylor High School students charged with making a school shooting threat told police he had guns at home that he and two other students could use in the shooting, including a rifle and two pistols, an arrest affidavit said.

Kadin Watson also told police that he and the other two students charged had been planning during a class where the attack would begin, the time it would occur and how the shooting at Taylor High would happen, the affidavit said. Watson, Devant Davis-Brooks and Emmanuel Pina Tejas, all of them 17 years old, were charged Wednesday with making a terroristic threat, a Class B misdemeanor punishable with up to 180 days in jail.

Devant-Brooks told police he had made a comment during the conversation in the classroom saying “he would be a school shooter but he can’t get a gun,” the affidavit said.

A student who overheard what Devant-Brooks said reported that “the classroom got quiet after the comment for a brief moment,” according to the affidavit.

Both Watson and Devant-Brooks were released from the Williamson County Jail on Thursday after posting bail set at $1,500.

— Claire Osborn, American-Statesman


Police: Car leaves road, crashes into building

A car crashed into a building in Southeast Austin on Friday afternoon, Austin-Travis County EMS officials said.

Medics responded at 4:56 p.m. to the 800 block of East Slaughter.

The driver had a medical condition that caused him to crash, and the driver and passenger were hospitalized, Austin police said.

The two were taken to St. David’s South Austin Medical Center with injuries that are not expected to be life-threatening, EMS officials said.

—Katie Hall, American-Statesman

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