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Breaking: Hurricane evacuee brawl in downtown Austin that led to shooting of homeless woman was over scooter, witness says

A witness said a brawl that led to the fatal shooting of a bystander on Thursday morning was over a scooter.

This story was last updated at 5 p.m. Saturday to include what a witness saw at the time of the shooting.

The 60-person brawl between two groups of Hurricane Laura evacuees—which led to the shooting death of a bystander—was caused by an argument over a scooter, a man who said he witnessed the incident told Austonia.

Amy Lynn Warner, a 51-year-old homeless woman, was shot in the neck during the fight, according to the witness, who declined to give his name but said he lived on the streets and had a close relationship with the victim.

"There was a guy on a scooter who rode by," he said in a video interview. "Another guy got mad because he took the scooter ... [He] pulled out a gun, shot one time. Amy got shot in the neck and died on the way to the hospital."

The brawl

The call about the large fight came in around 12:30 a.m. on Thursday, shortly before Hurricane Laura made landfall in Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane, knocking out power for at least half a million people in coastal Texas and Louisiana.

A woman was found at the scene and taken to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead around 1 a.m., police said.

"She was standing at the wrong place at the wrong time," said Austin police Lt. Jeff Greenwalt.

Detectives are interviewing witnesses and checking surveillance video.

"The information gathered thus far indicates that two groups of hurricane evacuees, one from Port Arthur and one from Beaumont, got into an argument and a large fight ensued," police said. "Individuals from both parties produced handguns. One person fired and struck a woman experiencing homelessness who happened to be nearby, but was not involved."

No other gunshot injuries were reported, according to police. Greenwalt declined to say how many shots were fired.

Police also did not say what caused the fight between the two groups. The shots were fired as police were en route, Greenwalt said.

The address of the altercation is listed as Sixth Street at Brazos. The corner includes Gold's Gym and the Driskill Hotel, along with numerous bars and restaurants close by. The shooting happened in front of the Driskill, Greenwalt said. He did not confirm that the evacuees were staying there, saying there were numerous hotels throughout the city that evacuees were using.

The city and county provided more than a thousand hotel rooms for more than 3,000 evacuees and opened up a shelter at the Austin Convention Center on second street overnight.

The victim

Warner was well known on Sixth Street among the street artists and homeless population, many of whom described her as quirky and friendly and intensely proud of her adult son.

"She had been through a lot, but she was always smiling," said Justine Decker, who works with homeless artists near the corner where Warner was shot. "She always asked me what I was painting, and she was very encouraging."

Warner had been on the streets of Austin at least five years, according to one man who asked not to be named. The aforementioned witness said her life was hard on the street—especially because she was small in stature.

Decker said she and others who knew her were trying to locate her son to let him know.

The arrest

Police announced Friday the arrest of 21-year old Linton Alexander, who is accused of Warner's death.

Police did not release where or when Alexander was arrested, or where he lives.

It is one of three homicides Austin police were investigating in a 12-hour period. The other two homicides to happen on Wednesday involved people who knew each other, Greenwalt said. There have been 33 homicides in Austin this year.


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