Authorities said there were no deaths, but two people were in critical condition. Twelve people were in stable condition. One male suspect was in custody, and another remained at large Saturday evening, the Austin Police Department said. The motive is unclear, interim police chief Joseph Chacon said before the arrest Saturday afternoon.
The first report of gunfire came about 1:24 a.m. near the 400 block of East Sixth Street, an area filled with bars and live music venues. Police said the shooter or shooters appear to have started firing randomly into the crowd, and that "a large crowd of people began to disperse."
Authorities told the Austin American-Statesman that tens of thousands of people may have been in the area at the time, meaning the estimated crowd was close to "pre-pandemic" levels.
"It was very difficult to contain the scene, it was very difficult for EMS to make their way into this crowd," Chacon told reporters. "And because of the nature of the injuries, officers had to go ahead and use their police vehicles to put some of these shooting victims into their vehicles and transport them themselves."
Medics with Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services responded to what was described by authorities as an "active attack." Ten people were brought to hospitals by police and medics. Another three people took themselves to hospitals, police said.
Chacon said that police are reviewing officers' body-camera video and that of business surveillance cameras to determine what happened early Saturday. In a news release, the department thanked the U.S. Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force "for assisting with the arrest of this suspect" who was in custody Saturday.
The chaotic scene was captured on social media, including one video from KXAN that shows police officers carrying one of the injured victims toward medics.
The shooting is the latest in what data shows to be an increased level of gun violence during the coronavirus pandemic. Gun violence killed nearly 20,000 Americans in 2020, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive, which was more than any other year in at least two decades. Some officials have worried that a rise in violent crime this summer could bring about safety concerns as Americans emerge back into society.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler, a Democrat, thanked local authorities for their efforts and noted that the shooting reflected the increased violence nationwide.
"The uptick in gun violence locally is part of a disturbing rise in gun violence across the country as we exit the pandemic," he tweeted.
The Austin shooting was one of several shootings nationwide late Friday and early Saturday. In Savannah, Ga., one person was killed and eight others were injured, including a 2-year-old and 13-year-old, late Friday. Police there are still investigating and no arrests have been made.
A 29-year-old woman was killed and another 10 people were injured in a shooting on Chicago's South Side early Saturday. The injured victims, who are between ages 23 and 46, are in fair to good condition, police said. No arrests have been made.
Published : June 13, 2021
By : The Washington Post · Timothy Bella