Thanksgiving Terror

Gunman dead after shooting rampage through downtown Austin

Gunman dead after shooting rampage through downtown Austin

A suspected gunman is dead after a rampage through downtown Austin on Friday morning that left more than 100 rounds in the U.S. Federal Courthouse, the Consulate General of Mexico, a BB&T Bank and the Austin Police Department headquarters. 

Though the investigation, which is led by FBI Special Agent Dan Powers and Austin Police Department, is still ongoing, APD Police Chief Art Acevedo gave a press conference this morning to elaborate on the timeline of events. Beginning at 2:22 am, emergency dispatchers started receiving reports of a gunman in the vicinity of the Federal Courthouse near Fourth and Nueces streets. These were corroborated by patrol officers who also reported hearing gunfire in the area.

At 2:24 am, APD received more reports of gunfire from a possible automatic weapon. This was followed five minutes later at 2:29 am with a report of shots fired at the Mexican Consulate on Baylor Street near West Fifth Street. A later investigation found what Acevedo described as a "small, green cylinder" had been set on fire near the consulate. It was extinguished and did minimal damage to the building. 

At 2:32 am, Austin Police Department headquarters came under fire. "An Austin police sergeant who was in process of loading horses from mounted patrol saw the gunman and heard gunfire," said Acevedo. At 2:33 am, the sergeant, a 15-year veteran of the force, returned gunfire and the suspect was killed. Acevedo said it was unclear if the bullet that killed the suspect was from the officer's gun or if it was self-inflicted. The officer has been placed on administrative leave with pay, per APD policy. Acevedo also noted that the officer was holding the horse steady in one hand while firing with the other.

At 2:34 am, emergency services was called to respond and patrol officers went to grab the suspect. At this point, officers noted that the suspect was wearing an unidentifiable vest and also reported "cylinders" in the suspect's vehicle. The officers disengaged the suspect and called for a bomb squad. At 2:40 am the bomb squad responded, APD headquarters was evacuated and at 2:41 am, I-35 and the streets surrounding the department's downtown headquarters were shut down. The bomb squad was later able to determine there was no bomb and I-35 was reopened around 6:30 am. 

Though the department is not releasing his name at this time, Acevedo did say the suspect is a white male believed to be in his 50s. He is a resident of Austin, Texas. Other news outlets are reporting that the suspect lived in South Austin, though this was not confirmed. Police are unsure of motive. "I give thanks that no one but the suspect is injured or deceased," said Acevedo. "We should all take a lot of comfort [in that]."

Austin Police Department police car
A gunman is dead after downtown shooting rampage. Courtesy of Austin Police Department/Facebook