Texas spree killer had recent encounter with police, previous conviction in Fort Worth

The Texas man police say killed his parents in San Antonio before committing a series of shootings in Austin on Tuesday had a run-in with law enforcement in August during a mental health crisis and, last year, for cutting off an ankle monitor while on parole, Bexar County authorities said.

He was also convicted of misdemeanor trespassing in Tarrant County in 2017 after being arrested by Fort Worth police, according to court records, and had a previous address listed in Mansfield.

Shane Matthew James Jr., 34, is charged with two counts of capital murder after authorities said he killed his parents, Phyllis James and Shane James Sr., at their home in San Antonio before going to Austin, where he killed four more people and wounded three others.

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said at a news conference Wednesday that James had three misdemeanor warrants out for his arrest when he encountered the deputies in August. The warrants stemmed from January 2022, when he was accused of domestic violence against his parents and sibling.

Salazar said James was arrested, but his parents advocated for his release from jail. He was released with an ankle monitor on March 7. On March 8, he cut the monitor off. That action triggered three misdemeanor warrants for his arrest for domestic violence, but were at the time only misdemeanors. Texas earlier this year passed a law making it a state jail felony to cut off an ankle monitor.

Despite the warrants for James’ arrest, Salazar said when deputies were called to his parents’ home in August, there wasn’t much they could do.

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James was naked, behaving erratically and barricaded in a room on the second floor of his parents’ home when law enforcement arrived, Salazar said. Deputies met with his father outside the home and he gave them permission to enter.

But, Salazar said that the misdemeanor warrants weren’t enough to allow the deputies to force their way into the room. James’ father tried, but wasn’t able to open the door enough for the deputies to enter. In the end, the deputies left the house but promised they weren’t going far.

Salazar said the father told them he would give them a call when James left the room, but the call never came.

Salazar said that while cutting off the ankle monitor was not a criminal offense at the time, their processes have changed since the new law went into effect, according to the Associated Press. Now, the agency is notified when a suspect cuts off their ankle monitor, and the appropriate felony charges are filed. “Back in March 2022, unfortunately, that statute did not exist,” Salazar said.