Man arrested for firing shots into air to scare New Year revelers

An Austin man was arrested early New Year’s Day for firing a gun in the air to scare off neighbors who were popping firecrackers in his neighborhood, according to police.

Shawn Smith, 40, was arrested for discharging a firearm in certain municipalities. He was not in custody as of Monday afternoon.

Police responded to a call of shots fired near the intersection of Gold Moss Cove and Windrift Way in South Austin around 1 a.m. Sunday.

The caller reported a man firing his shotgun in the air in the direction of people in the neighborhood who were “shooting off fireworks.” The caller said the man had fired two shots and walked off.

Another man interviewed by police said the shooter yelled obscenities at the people celebrating the New Year in the street and said “people have to … work,” according to the affidavit. After the man shot a few rounds in the air, the people celebrating in the street ran and hid behind cars and inside houses, the affidavit said.

Police found two shell casings on Windrift Way in the area near where the shooting reportedly took place, according to the affidavit. Police were also shown a cell phone video taken by a neighbor of a man yelling and firing a shotgun.

Police said they believed Smith, who lives in the area, was the shooter based on witness interviews, the cell phone video and shell casings found in the area, according to the affidavit.

Smith denied firing a gun in the air but stated he did have a shotgun inside his home, the affidavit said. Police did not recover a firearm, according to the affidavit.

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