Driver wounds 4 in string of shoot­ings

In­ci­dents oc­curred in North, Cen­tral Austin; sus­pect in cus­tody.

Austin American-Statesman Sunday - - METRO & STATE - By Melissa B. Taboada

A lone shooter armed with a ri­fle fired on ve­hi­cles at ran­dom as he drove on high­ways and ma­jor roads in North and Cen­tral Austin start­ing about 2 a.m. Satur­day, strik­ing ve­hi­cles and wound­ing four peo­ple, Austin po­lice said.

One of the in­jured is a 7-yearold girl who re­mains in crit­i­cal con­di­tion at Dell Chil­dren’s Med­i­cal Cen­ter.

Po­lice say they have a sus­pect in cus­tody and that “there’s no con­tin­ued danger to the pub­lic,” but they are not re­leas­ing his name. He ap­peared to be in­tox­i­cated, author­i­ties say.

“We do not have a mo­tive for the shoot­ings,” said Joseph Cha­con, an as­sis­tant po­lice chief. “It ap­pears the shoot­ings are ran­dom in na­ture.”

The shoot­ings be­gan shortly be­fore 2 a.m. and con­tin­ued for about an hour on mul­ti­ple roads, in­clud­ing In­ter­state 35, U.S. 183 and La­mar Boule­vard, among oth­ers. Po­lice said it ap­pears the sus­pect was driv­ing and si­mul­ta­ne­ously shoot­ing at ve­hi­cles on the road.

“I’m go­ing to be hon­est. It’s a lit­tle con­vo­luted,” Cha­con said. “We have a lot of crime scenes. We have sev­eral peo­ple who were in­jured in this.

“There are a lot of vic­tims and wit­nesses that we have to in­ter­view and ob­tain state­ments from and ev­i­dence we have to process. This is go­ing to take days and weeks for us to get through this in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

Those in­jured are a young man who was shot some­time af­ter 2 a.m. near U.S. 183 and North La­mar; and three peo­ple in the same ve­hi­cle, a 29-yearold man, a 31-year-old wo­man and the 7-year-old girl, who were rid­ing near Master­son Pass and

North La­mar when they were shot around 2:25 a.m.

Other vic­tims re­ported that the shooter pulled along­side their ve­hi­cles and pointed a gun at them but did not fire.

One 24-year-old wo­man said she was near I-35 and 51st Street when the sus­pect was driv­ing er­rat­i­cally and be­gan to chase her be­fore hit­ting her ve­hi­cle from be­hind, pulling along­side her and then point­ing a weapon at her be­fore driv­ing away.

Shortly af­ter 3 a.m., an of­fi­cer with the Texas De­part­ment of Pub­lic Safety found an aban­doned black ve­hi­cle match­ing the de­scrip­tion pro­vided to po­lice near U.S. 290 and I-35. As the DPS ve­hi­cle ap­proached, the of­fi­cer saw a man “a good dis­tance away” walk­ing away from the ve­hi­cle. The of­fi­cer saw a weapon in the ve­hi­cle and no­ti­fied Austin po­lice. Po­lice searched the area but could not find the sus­pect and called in the Lone Star Fugi­tive Task Force.

The Lone Star Fugi­tive Task Force about 3:45 a.m. found the sus­pect at a res­i­dence that was not his home and took him into cus­tody with­out in­ci­dent, Cha­con said.

The ve­hi­cle is reg­is­tered to peo­ple with whom the sus­pect is as­so­ci­ated, Cha­con said.

Cha­con said he had no in­for­ma­tion on the weapon or to whom it was reg­is­tered, but wit­nesses de­scribed it as a ri­fle and an as­sault ri­fle.

Cha­con said the sus­pect “ap­peared to be in­tox­i­cated on some kind of sub­stance,” and that re­mains part of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“We feel like we have the cor­rect per­son in cus­tody,” Cha­con said. “This per­son is the only per­son in­volved in this and there’s no con­tin­ued danger to the pub­lic at this time.”

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