Police chief: Man shot himself while in the back of a patrol car


3:55 p.m. update: The person who was critically injured in the downtown Austin area Sunday was a man who had been arrested by Austin police and shot himself in the head while in the back of a patrol car, Interim Police Chief Brian Manley said during a media briefing.

Austin police had arrested the man at Barton Creek Square Mall. The man is in his late teens or early 20s and was suspected of shoplifting and possession of a controlled substance, Manley said.

Police couldn’t positively determine the man’s identity immediately but believed he was wanted for multiple felonies, Manley said. Police placed the man in the patrol car to take him to Austin police headquarters in downtown Austin to fingerprint him, he said.

In a conversation recorded in the patrol car’s interior camera, the man told the officer he had “suicidal ideations,” Manley said. When the officer asked whether the man had the means to injure himself, the man pulled a gun from behind his back and managed to point it to his head, he said.

The officer reported the incident over the radio and started giving the man commands to put the gun down, Manley said. Other officers arrived to their location, at the 500 block of Lavaca Street, and cleared people from the street, he said.

After six minutes, during which the man aimed the gun at his head several times, the man fired one shot, Manley said. Officers took the man out of the vehicle and performed life-saving measures until medics arrived and took him to University Medical Center Brackenridge, where the man is being treated for life-threatening injuries, he said.

The man has not been identified yet. No other shots were fired and no one else was injured, Manley said.

Manley did not identify the police officers involved but said that the officer driving the patrol car has been 11 years with the force and another officer who following him in a second patrol car was a seven-year veteran. The incident will be investigated by internal affairs, Manley said.

2:20 p.m. update: A man was shot Sunday afternoon in the downtown Austin area and taken to the hospital in critical condition, according to Austin-Travis County EMS.

Medics responded to the scene of a shooting at Sixth and Lavaca streets around 1:15 p.m.

A man believed to be in his 20s was taken to University Medical Center Brackenridge in critical condition, EMS said.

Police have roped off the scene downtown and are currently investigating. They are expected to give a briefing soon.

Video from a witness who drove in front of the scene shows several patrol cars parked on Lavaca Street in front of The Belmont music club. An officer was walking with a rifle while others appeared to be performing CPR on a person lying on the road, the video shows.

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Earlier: Austin police are investigating reports of a shooting in the downtown area, officials said Sunday afternoon.

Police officials said they will hold a media briefing near Sixth and Colorado streets to provide more information. This story will be updated as more information becomes available.



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