Man shot by Austin police did not open fire at officers, chief says

April 10, 2017
Austin police respond Friday night to an officer-involved shooting in East Austin. Police say Lawrence Burrell Parrish, 31, pointed a rifle at officers responding to a disturbance call at a house in the 6300 block of Parliament Drive. Parrish, who was shot and injured, is charged with aggravated assault against a public servant. No officers were reported injured, police said. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

A man who was shot and wounded during a standoff with police outside his East Austin house Friday night raised and pointed a rifle at officers but did not fire the weapon as authorities previously reported, Austin’s police chief said Monday.

Since Lawrence Burrell Parrish, a 31-year-old father of four, pointed the firearm at officers, the charge police filed against him — aggravated assault against a public servant — still applies, Police Chief Brian Manley said.

Parrish was released from the hospital and booked into the Travis County Jail on Sunday afternoon, jail records show. His bail was set at $500,000.

According to his arrest affidavit, police first became involved when a woman who lives with Parrish called 911. She said that earlier in the day, Parrish had been claiming that he was shot in the chest by police and was yelling and cursing as if he were arguing with a police officer.

READ MORE: Austin man shot, injured, in standoff with police

Parrish appeared to be under the influence of narcotics and in an altered mental state, she told police. She grabbed her children and left the house “due to Parrish’s strange behavior,” but she later returned and saw him kneeling in the street with a gun, the affidavit says.

The woman called 911, and officers responded around 9:48 p.m. As officers set up a perimeter around the house in the 6300 block of Parliament Drive, Parrish came in and out several times. The affidavit says officers saw that he was holding a gun but that it was pointed downward, at least at the beginning of the incident.

In the affidavit, one of the responding officers said the last time Parrish opened the door, the officer saw Parrish raise the rifle in his direction.

Officer Marcos Johnson, who officials said has been a police officer for eight years, fired two rounds before ducking down to take cover. Johnson then heard a volley of gunfire, the affidavit says.

Officers initially thought Parrish had fired his rifle, but Manley confirmed at a news conference Monday that Parrish did not use the weapon during the incident. None of the officers were injured, police said.

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Austin police officials said three other officers also fired at Parrish, who was hit several times. Emergency medical crews took Parrish to University Medical Center Brackenridge to be treated.

The affidavit says Parrish raised a .40-caliber Hi-Point carbine at police. Officers recovered the weapon at the scene.

Johnson and these three officers have been placed on administrative leave, which is typical during officer-involved shooting investigations: Paul Bianchi, who has been with the Austin police since 2012; Dane O’Neill, another five-year veteran; and Jordan Wagstaff, who has been with the department for five months.

The department’s Internal Affairs Unit will conduct an administrative investigation while the Special Investigations Unit will be in charge of a criminal query, which is Austin police protocol.