July 27, 2021

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13 injured in downtown Austin shooting early Saturday; police still searching for suspect – Austin American-Statesman

3 min read

Editor’s note: Due to the magnitude of this shooting as a matter of public safety, the Statesman is making this story free for everyone to read. Statesman journalists are working to find as much information as possible and will continue to report on this story. https://www.statesman.com/subscribenow

Up to 13 people were shot early Saturday in downtown Austin in a chaotic scene that left Austin police officers taking some of the wounded in police cars to the hospital.

The shooter or shooters remain at large, and detectives were working rapidly to view an array of video gathered by bystanders and other cameras near the scene in the 400 block of East Sixth Street to identify any suspects. Authorities say the shooter appears to have fired randomly.

Austin-Travis County EMS medics responded at 1:25 a.m. to what they described as an “active attack.” Medics took four people to the hospital by ambulance, Austin police took six others to the hospital and three were taken by private vehicle, EMS officials said.

“It was very difficult to contain the scene, it was very difficult for EMS to make their way into this crowd,” interim Austin Police Chief Joe Chacon said. “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.”

More:Gun violence on the rise in Austin; city to accelerate prevention, intervention programs

Police told the American-Statesman that the crowd in the city’s entertainment district at the time was near the size of a “pre-pandemic” group, meaning potentially tens of thousands of people gathered in the area anchored by Sixth Street.

The Republic of Texas biker rally is happening in Austin this weekend, which also typically draws thousands of motorcyclists to the city and the entertainment district.

“Security (on Sixth Street) is always pretty good down here because of the way that we cordon off the streets, block off the streets, using barricades and try to keep people safe that way,” Chacon said, adding that police provide “a high visible presence of officers.” 

“But what we have seen in recent months and over the last year or so is an increase in gun violence,” he said, “and so this is just emblematic of that, it continues, and it’s something we’re trying to work to decrease.”

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At the time of the attack, “a large crowd of people began to disperse in the area,” police said in a statement Saturday.

“Officers initially located several victims who had sustained gunshot wounds and were injured,” and began treating people, police said.

Taylor Blount was at a bar on Sixth Street when he heard a barrage of gunshots. 

“I only heard them from a single weapon and then everyone started running in different directions,” he said. “People were freaking out a lot, and there were some people crying, but most people were just freaking out.

Blount, 26, said he ran inside a bar, closed the door and locked it because he could not immediately determine where the shots were from.

Moments later, when he believed it to be safe, he said he went outside and saw police officers dragging a man who had been shot in the ribs to safety and then performing first aid on him.

FROM THE ARCHIVES:Sixth Street bar owner permanently shutting down business after shooting

“It was very intense.”

Among the 13 wounded or injured, 11 were in stable condition Saturday and two were in critical condition.

Police said the shooting appears to be an isolated incident but that the investigation is ongoing. Investigators are being aided by the FBI and off-duty detectives from various units.

Anyone with more information or video of the incident can call police detectives at 512-974-8477, or contact Crime Stoppers by calling the tip line at 512-472-8477 or the mobile app.

This is a developing story. Please return to read more.

FROM THE ARCHIVES:Austin police searching for suspects in 5 weekend shootings

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