'It was very intense': Austin entertainment district shooting leaves 1 dead, 13 injured; authorities arrest suspect

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AUSTIN, Texas – A tourist from New York who was one of the victims of Saturday's shooting on Sixth Street has died, Austin police confirmed Sunday.

The tourist was one of 14 people caught in the crossfire early Saturday. A juvenile is jailed in connection with the shooting, and police are searching for a second suspect.

The tourist's name and age were not immediately released as the mass shooting transitioned to a homicide investigation. The condition of a second person who was critically wounded was unclear Sunday.

Authorities said previously that the 14 people received a range of injuries, including some that were moderate enough that victims drove themselves to hospitals and urgent care clinics for treatment.

News of the tourist's death came after the American-Statesman and KVUE-TV confirmed Sunday that at least one of two suspects in the case is a juvenile. Police and prosecutors were still trying to determine what charges they will face.

Police and prosecutors have up to 48 hours from the time of a person's arrest to file charges against him. The suspect's age was not immediately released, and because he is not an adult, his identity and court records in the case likely will remain confidential.

Officials also were continuing efforts Sunday to locate a second suspect, and it was not immediately clear if that person also is a juvenile.

Those details emerged after Austin's Sixth Street entertainment district, filled with revelers resuming post-pandemic life, again became the scene of chaos and bloodshed early Saturday when at least 14 people were wounded in a mass shooting that intensified questions about public safety and gun violence in one of the nation's fastest-growing cities.

Interim Police Chief Joe Chacon said the shooters could face a range of charges that include attempted murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Taylor Blount was at a bar on Sixth Street early Saturday when he heard a barrage of gunshots.

"I only heard them from a single weapon, and then everyone started running in different directions," he said. "People were freaking out a lot, and there were some people crying, but most people were just freaking out.

Austin shooting: At least one of two suspects is a juvenile in attack that injured 14

Blount, 26, said he ran inside a bar, closed the door and locked it because he could not immediately determine where the shots were from.

Moments later, when he believed it to be safe, Blount said he went outside and saw police officers dragging a man who had been shot in the chest to safety and then performing first aid on him. "It was very intense," he added.

The shooting marked the most significant mass casualty incident local emergency officials have responded to citywide since 2014 — an incident that happened in the same area when a man plowed his car into a crowded, barricaded street during South by Southwest. Four people died, and 30 were injured.

Although no one died in Saturday's shooting, the incident also marked the first time that many people were shot in one event in Austin since the infamous mass shooting from the University of Texas Tower in 1966 that left 15 dead.

The scene began unfolding at the height of a typical weekend night on Sixth Street. Austin-Travis County EMS medics responded at 1:25 a.m. to what they described as an "active attack."

Officials said security video footage they reviewed as part of the investigation showed victims enjoying themselves one moment, then dropping to the ground from injuries as shots rang out. When first responders arrived, they found people covered in blood and sprawled out on the street and sidewalk.

"It was very difficult to contain the scene. It was very difficult for EMS to make their way into this crowd," Chacon said.

Police told the American-Statesman, part of the USA TODAY Network, that the crowd in the city's entertainment district at the time was near the size of a pre-pandemic group, meaning potentially tens of thousands of people gathered in the area anchored by East Sixth Street.

The Republic of Texas biker rally is happening in Austin this weekend, which typically draws thousands of motorcyclists to the city and to the entertainment district. But Chacon said they have no information that the rally played any role in the violence.

Amid the chaos, medics tended to the most seriously wounded and raced them to the hospital.

Dramatic video shows Austin police officers racing toward the scene, then administering first aid to some of the victims. Cameras captured two officers carrying a woman wearing red high heels, and, in other footage, officers could be seen crouched over a victim in the street providing help.

Police said that as ambulances struggled to reach the area, officers put victims in squad cars and other police vehicles to drive them to the hospital a few blocks away.

“We had a lot of trouble getting our command vehicles and ambulances where they needed to be — the streets were blocked off, the crowds were so heavy, and there was so much chaos,” said Selena Xie, union president for Austin-Travis County EMS. “That’s why police have mounted units (on horseback), because that is much easier to maneuver than a vehicle.”

Related: Less than 24 hours after Austin shooting, partiers and tourists returned to Sixth Street

Gun violence: Austin police see troubling trend after 3 fatal shootings in less than a week

State officials, including Gov. Greg Abbott, also addressed Saturday's shooting. Abbott said in a statement that the Texas Department of Public Safety is working closely with the Austin Police Department to “ensure that the perpetrators are captured and punished to the fullest extent of the law.”

During the just-completed legislative session, Republican lawmakers successfully passed several bills loosening gun restrictions, including a measure that would allow anyone 21 or older who can legally possess a firearm in Texas to carry a handgun in public without a permit.

Current state law allows residents 21 or older to carry a handgun only after completing training and criminal background check to obtain a license to carry. House Bill 1927, known as constitutional carry by gun rights advocates, has long been a legislative priority of many conservative Republican lawmakers, and Abbott has said he will sign the bill.

Contributing: Marnie Muñoz, Austin American Statesman

This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Austin mass shooting: 1 dead and 13 injured; police arrest suspect

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