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Gunman suspected of killing 6 and injuring 3 others tried to flee from Travis County Jail, authorities say

Two police investigators stand while a third kneels at a neighborhood crime scene on a sunny fall day.
Patricia Lim
Investigators work at the scene of a double homicide on Austral Loop in Austin's Circle C neighborhood on Wednesday.

The day after being arrested for a string of shootings that stretched from San Antonio to Austin, the suspected gunman tried to flee from the Travis County Jail, court records show.

Shane James Jr., 34, was arrested Tuesday and charged with capital murder in connection with the deaths of six people, including his parents. Three other people were injured.

Kristen Dark, a spokesperson for the Travis County Sheriff’s Office, said a corrections officer was opening the door to the housing unit where James was assigned when he pushed past the officer and ran into the hallway. Corrections officers ultimately detained him.

“The Travis County Jail is a multi-floor, secure facility and James would neither have been able to escape the floor he was on, nor the building itself,” Dark said.

Austin police have connected James to a series of violent events they believe began in San Antonio and ended in Austin on Tuesday evening.

According to an arrest affidavit, police were alerted to a burglary at a home in the Circle C neighborhood of Southwest Austin. The owner called police and said he could see a man trying to break into his house on his live surveillance system. His wife and daughter were in the home.

When police arrived, they found a gunman in the home. According to the affidavit, he tried to run out through the backyard, where he shot and injured a police officer, before running into the garage. Court documents say he then stole the family’s vehicle and fled the scene, sending police on a high-speed chase. He lost control of the vehicle and crashed into another car at State Highway 45 and FM 1826, where he was arrested. A gun and bullets were found in the vehicle, court documents show.

Officers who responded to the Southwest Austin home found two people with gunshot wounds. They were later identified as 56-year-old Katherine Short and her daughter, Lauren Short, 30. Both died at the scene, according to the affidavit.

Authorities believe James killed his parents in their home near San Antonio, before making his way to Austin. He is also believed to be connected with the shooting of an Austin Independent School District officer near Northeast Early College High School. More than an hour later, he allegedly shot and killed two more people — identified as Emmanuel Pop Ba and Sabrina Rahman — in a South Austin neighborhood.

James remained in the Travis County Jail on Friday.

Luz Moreno-Lozano is the Austin City Hall reporter at KUT. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on X @LuzMorenoLozano.
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