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Early morning highway shootout puts APD officer and suspect in hospital

(Christa McWhirter/Austonia file)

Shortly after midnight on Friday, an officer and suspect were both injured in a shooting on the 3600 block of Highway 290 near I-35 in northeast Austin.

Officers responded to a call that said a victim was being followed and shot at by another driver. When the two officers arrived on the scene, they quickly found the unharmed victim in their car and began to look for the suspect, who had driven away.


Once officers found the suspect's truck on Highway 290's frontage road, they parked and got out of their car. The suspect immediately opened fire, injuring one of the officers with non-life threatening injuries. The suspect was given life-threatening injuries when officers shot back, said Interim Police Chief Joe Chacon at a briefing.

Both the officer and suspect were taken to the hospital and put into surgery. While the suspect's injuries were life-threatening, he is said to be in stable condition.

The crime follows a string of violent crimes that have plagued the city in recent weeks. In response, Chacon said the department is looking to roll out a violent crime initiative, which is set to have more information as early as next week.

"I think this is emblematic of the issues that I've been talking about for the last several days about gun crime that is happening here in the city in Austin," Chacon said. "It is highly concerning to me that we have these type of incidents and people shooting at officers, we need to get this under control."

Both bodycam and car camera footage captured the crime and will be used to investigate the incident and the officers' actions. Both will be put on routine administrative leave as the investigation continues.

Chacon said that he's glad no other officers were hurt.

"It's chilling," Chacon said. "We are lucky that we don't have more people that are injured right now, particularly our officers, who in the face of this danger, displayed bravery. "

While his name has not been disclosed, Chacon described the suspect as a Hispanic male in his late 20s or early 30s. The suspect could be facing charges including attempted capital murder, Chacon said.

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