PHOTOS: Police Searching for Motive of Slain Gunman Who Fired on Austin Buildings
Update 2:40pm: The APD has officially released the name of this morning's shooter: Larry Steve McQuilliams (DOB: 12-13-1964)
Update 2:00pm: Chief Acevedo says the residence of this morning's shooter has been cleared and is safe to enter. The APD and FBI had been slowly examining the apartment in the Barton Hills neighborhood to make sure there were no explosives or traps left to harm law officers.
Update 10:00 am: Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo says there were no explosives found on the body of the suspect in this morning's shooting in downtown Austin, nor were there any explosives found in the suspect's vehicle.
At 2:22 a.m., APD started to receive reports of gunfire in multiple locations downtown, including the Mexican Consulate, the federal courthouse, and APD headquarters. Acevedo says the shooting occurred within the span of ten minutes. APD initially believed the suspect also fired shots at the BB&T bank, but later said the suspect did not target the bank. Officers believe more than 100 rounds were fired overall.
According to Acevedo, the officer involved in the shooting was putting away horses from an overnight mounted patrol when he saw the suspect shooting in front of APD headquarters. A source confirms the officer involved is Sgt. Adam Johnson, a 15 year APD veteran.
"As he held two horses with one hand, he discharged at least one round with a single handed shot," Acevedo says. "That'd be one heck of a shot." Police are still investigating whether the suspect was killed by the officer's bullet or a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Johnson is now on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure after an officer fires a weapon at another person.
After the suspect fell, officers approached the suspect and saw metal cylinders inside his vehicle, which they treated as possible improvised explosive devices. They also noticed the suspect wearing some kind of vest that they thought could have been also been a bomb. The officers called the bomb squad, which prompted police to close Interstate 35 and evacuate APD around 2:41 a.m. I-35 reopened around 7 a.m.
Acevedo says the suspect is a white man, approximately 50 years old and is an Austin resident with a criminal history. But when it came to a motive, Acevedo could only speculate, given the suspect's targets.
"This is all speculation, but when you look at the national debate about immigration, that certainly comes to mind," said Acevedo at a press briefing this morning. "I would suspect and I would venture based on my training and experience, that the political rhetoric might have fed into some of this. But that's speculation on my part. But I'm willing to speculate because that's what people want to know."
However, Acevedo says he has no facts at this time to back up this possible motive. The police chief says officers are still investigating a motive, as well as the shooter's exact sequence of events.
Meanwhile, a SWAT team is at the suspect's apartment on Hollow Creek Road in the Barton Hills neighborhood investigating his apartment for possible explosive devices. The FBI is also involved in the investigation.
Timeline of Events
2:22am - First reports of shots fired
2:24am - More reports of possible automatic weapon fire
2:28am - Gunshots reported at federal courthouse at 5th and Nueces
2:29am - Shots fired outside Mexican consulate at 410 Baylor St.
2:32am - Shots fired outside APD headquarters
2:33am - APD officer from mounted unit heard gunshots, fired at the suspect, who fell to the ground
2:34am - EMS called to treat suspect
2:40am - Bomb squad called to investigate suspect’s vehicle and vest
2:41am - I-35 shut down
3:01am - Police discover BB&T Bank at 5th and Nueces also shot at by suspect
5:11am - Police confirm via Twitter that suspect is dead
Update(6:39 a.m.): An unidentified suspect shot at three buildings in downtown Austin early this morning, including the Mexican Consulate and Austin Police headquarters, where he was eventually shot by an Austin Police officer.
The event closed Interstate 35 for a few hours, but the interstate is now reopened in both directions.
APD began receiving calls at 2:22 a.m. about shots fired downtown. An officer spotted the suspect in front of APD headquarters and fired at the suspect. The suspect went down, but when officers approached the suspect next to a vehicle, they noticed what appeared to be an improvised explosive device in the vehicle.
As the officers were dragging the suspect away from the vehicle, they noticed the suspect was also wearing some type of vest. The officers backed away from the suspect and formed a perimeter.
"We are working through that process right now," said Chief of Staff Raul Munguia at a media briefing this morning. "Our bomb squad is on scene and they are trying to ascertain nature of potential explosive devices and if any actions will be needed to render them safe."
APD said earlier the suspect is dead:
One male suspect is deceased. We are in process of securing scene.— Austin Police Department (@Austin_Police) November 28, 2014
No officers were injured in the event.
Munguia says APD is also searching the suspect's North Austin residence, to make sure the area is safe for neighbors.
Update(5:16 a.m.): Austin Police say the suspect in an early morning shooting in downtown Austin is dead.
Police say they shot the suspect who fired a weapon at multiple downtown buildings, including Austin Police headquarters. No officers were injured in the event.
Meanwhile, Interstate 35 between 15th street and Cesar Chavez Streets remains closed. Police are advising drivers to take Mopac or Highway 183.
Original Story (4:07 a.m.): Austin Police say they've shot a suspect who fired a weapon at multiple downtown buildings, including Austin Police headquarters.
No officers were injured in the event, but APD Headquarters has been evacuated. The suspect's condition is unknown at this time.
Police have closed Interstate 35 Southbound at 15th Street and Northbound at Cesar Chavez Street as they investigate the shooting.
Police say to avoid the area and expect traffic delays.
We'll update this story as more information becomes available.