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The Austin Police Department reports no known threats to the Austin area ahead of Inauguration Day on Wednesday, but remains on tactical alert following the deadly, pro-Trump riot at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month.
"We're not really seeing a lot out there with regards to rival groups coming out, but we're certainly prepared for that," Assistant Chief Joseph Chacon said Tuesday.
As a precaution, the department is on tactical alert, meaning officers of all ranks report to duty in uniform and are ready to deploy out into the community if needed.
APD has also sent a contingent of 49 officers to Washington D.C. to assist with Inauguration Day security. This is the fifth inauguration the department has done so, although it sent fewer officers this year due to concerns about possible unrest in Austin.
"With the events that we just saw on Jan. 6 in our U.S. Capitol, I think it's more important than ever that we contribute to the effort to keep our president safe," Chacon said.
Last week, Council Member Alison Alter urged APD Chief Brian Manley to denounce the riot and launch an investigation into whether any APD employees had participated, according to local reports. (An 18-year veteran of the Houston Police Department is under federal investigation after participating.)
APD is not actively monitoring its officers or their social media profiles, Chacon said, and has not received any indications that they need to be. "They know what the rules are, and they know what they have to be doing to remain professional," he added.
APD is not the only law enforcement agency preparing for the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, which will take place on the day after the Texas state holiday honoring the Confederacy.
The Texas Department of Public Safety has deployed additional officers to the Texas Capitol, whose grounds it abruptly closed on Friday through Wednesday.
DPS "is aware of armed protests planned at the Texas State Capitol this week and violent extremists who may seek to exploit constitutionally protected events to conduct criminal acts," Director Steven McCraw said in a recent statement.
Federal law enforcement is also at work. The San Antonio branch of the FBI said its "efforts are focusing on identifying, investigating and disrupting individuals that are inciting violence and engaging in criminal activity" in a statement shared with Austonia. The U.S. Attorneys representing the four districts in Texas also announced their intent to prosecute any violations of federal law committed at the Texas Capitol or elsewhere.
Dozens of armed gun rights advocates gathered outside of the Texas Capitol on Sunday, although protestors reportedly said the event had nothing to do with Inauguration Day.
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Police have arrested one of two suspects involved in a mass shooting at Austin's Sixth Street in the early morning hours on Saturday, leaving 14 people injured and two in critical condition.
The arrest was made by the Austin Police Department and the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force. One suspect is still at large.
Police started receiving 911 phone calls at 1:24 a.m about a man that fired shots into a large crowd, and responded to a chaotic scene on the 400 block of East Sixth Street. Detectives are surveying video footage captured by bystanders and cameras on the scene to identify the suspect.
The Austin Police Department has narrowed down their search to two male suspects and believes there was "some type of disturbance" between the two parties.
No deaths have been reported. Fourteen victims are receiving treatment in a hospital in stable condition with one treated in an emergency room; two are in critical condition.
According to Interim Police Chief Joseph Chacon, "almost all" of the victims are innocent bystanders but police have not ruled anyone out at this time.
Shooting on 6th Street Austin Texas 6-12-2021 (Aftermath) youtu.be
The shooting occurred on the weekend of the Republic of Texas Motorcycle Rally. With lots of people downtown, police say it was difficult to get EMS in and out of the scene. Police arrived while the scene was still an "active threat," officers "immediately began lifesaving measures" and drove six victims to the hospital in their squad cars, said Chacon, and four were transported in ambulances.
Chacon said that the incident is believed to be isolated, and they optimistic they will be successful in getting the two suspects into custody. Multiple departments, including APD, the FBI, Texas DPS and the ATF, are involved in the investigation.
Austin police are also requesting state troopers for patrol assistance in the coming days. Chacon stressed staffing issues are increasingly making responding to emergency calls "very hard."
"Overall, we remain a safe city," Chacon said. "Also keep in mind when you come downtown, you need to be safety conscious. Be vigilant of your environment and your surroundings."
Today marks the five-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in which 49 were killed and 53 wounded in Orlando, Florida. Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call 911 or 512-472-TIPS.
This story was updated at 2:47 p.m. to include new information and will be updated as more details are revealed.
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Austin police are investigating a homicide in North Austin where a woman was shot and killed, just hours after a mass shooting in Downtown Austin hospitalized 14 people.
APD is working a suspicious death near the 1900 block of W Rundberg Ln. PIO is en route and will update with media staging location. PIO6
— Austin Police Department (@Austin_Police) June 12, 2021
Police originally responded to Ironhorse Flats Apartments, 1900 block of W. Rundberg Lane, at 3:20 p.m. when they found the woman with multiple gunshot wounds. She was transported to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 4:07 p.m.
No one is in custody as of yet but police are speaking with potential witnesses. Officials said they believe this was an isolated incident with no danger to the public but said possible relation to the downtown shooting has not been specifically ruled out.
Officers could not provide a suspect description and the relationship to the victim is still unknown.
This is a developing story that will be updated as details become available.
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