The man in his 30s, who has not been named, was booked into the Travis County Jail and charged with capital murder, Austin Police Department Interim Chief Robin Henderson said early Wednesday. She said authorities had not determined that the shootings were linked until after the final incident—with another law enforcement agency linking the suspect to another two killings in San Antonio.
“The nature of the relationship—if any—between the victims and the suspect is unknown,” Henderson said at a news conference. She later added: “I’d like to express my deepest condolences to all the victims and their families who have been affected by these series of tragic events and horrific criminal acts.”
The first shooting unfolded on Tuesday morning when an Austin school district police officer was shot and injured at around 10:43 a.m. near the Northeast Early College High School. Officials told KVUE that the officer was shot in “an unprovoked way” and that he was hit in the leg. He sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
The second incident occurred over an hour later to the south, where a “double homicide occurred involving a male and female victim,” Henderson said. Later in the day, just before 5:00 p.m. a male cyclist was shot on West Slaughter Lane in south Austin. He also suffered non-life-threatening injuries, the chief said.
Police were then called to a burglary in progress at a home at around 6:48 p.m., Henderson said, where an officer found the suspect in the backyard of the residence. “The male suspect immediately opened fire at the officer,” Henderson said. The officer suffered multiple gunshot wounds and returned fire, she said, and moved to a position of cover. The suspect—who was later found to have not been hit during the shootout—fled the scene in the vehicle. The officer’s injuries were not life-threatening.
Police pursued the suspect and, at around 7:14 p.m. the man crashed his vehicle and was taken into custody. Henderson said the suspect had a firearm in his possession as he was arrested.
As the chase was taking place, other officers entered the house that had allegedly been burglarized. Inside, they found two people who had suffered fatal injuries and were pronounced dead at the scene, Henderson said, adding that they were apparent victims of the suspect.
Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said he was contacted Tuesday evening by police in Austin following the suspect’s arrest saying the man had ties to a residence in the San Antonio area. When deputies went to the residence, they found two more bodies inside. “It’s a pretty grisly crime scene in there,” Salazar said, according to KXAN-TV. The sheriff also said there are “more than enough indicators that it is a double homicide, but we just don’t know cause of death at this point.” Salazar said the San Antonio victims appeared to be in their 50s.