Police Seek Gunman, Possible Multiple Suspects After Austin Mass Shooting

Police in Austin, Texas are searching for suspects following a mass shooting in the city's downtown area on early Saturday morning that left 13 people injured, with two victims in critical condition. No fatalities have been reported.

It is not yet known whether there is one or multiple suspects and no suspect has yet been identified. However, the Austin Police Department (APD) is seeking a man who may have been involved and have appealed for public help in finding the perpetrators.

The shooting began at 1.30 a.m. in the 400 block of East Sixth Street, a popular area for entertainment where many restaurants and bars are located. Police said the crowd was almost at "pre-pandemic" levels - meaning potentially tens of thousands of people were in the area centered around Sixth Street, according to The Austin American-Statesman, a local newspaper.

An APD statement on Saturday said: "There were a total of 13 victims who sustained gunshot wounds or were injured. Eleven victims are in stable condition, and two victims are in critical condition. At this time, no fatalities have been reported."

"The suspect(s) remains at-large," APD said.

"It is unknown if there is one, or multiple suspects involved. There is one suspect described as a black male, with dread locks, wearing a black shirt and a skinny build. The area will be closed for an extended amount of time to process the crime scene. Investigators are collecting and reviewing camera footage and surveillance video."

The shooting incident was first reported early on Saturday by Austin-Travis County EMS (ATCEMS) on their Twitter account and later confirmed by police. Interim Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon held a press conference at 4.00 a.m. to provide some information about the event.

"It was very difficult to contain the scene, it was very difficult for EMS to make their way into this crowd," Chacon said. "And because of the nature of the injuries, officers had to go ahead and use their police vehicles to put some of these shooting victims into their vehicles and transport them themselves."

One eyewitness, 26-year-old Taylor Blount, told The Austin American-Statesman he was in a bar on Sixth Street when he heard the gunshots.

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

Blount told the newspaper he ran into a nearby bar and locked the door behind him because he didn't know exactly where the shots were coming from. He went back into the street moments later when he thought it was safe and saw police officers dragging a man to safety and performing first aid. The man had reportedly been shot in the ribs.

"It was very intense," he said.

APD has stressed that the information currently available is preliminary and they have appealed for help from the public. The motive for the shootings is not clear at this time.

"Detectives are asking anyone with information or video of the incident to call APD Aggravated Assault Unit at 512-974-TIPS, utilize the Crime Stoppers tip line at 512-472-8477 (TIPS), or the Crime Stoppers app. You may remain anonymous," a police statement said.

Detectives of the Aggravated Assault, Homicide, Organized Crime, and Gang units are involved in the investigation, according to CNN, and the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force Team was also called in.

"It's not clear at this point what sparked this off, but out of an abundance of caution, we have notified the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force," Chacon said.

Newsweek has asked the Austin Police Department for comment.

Police Block a Street in Sunrise, Florida
Sunrise Police block the street where two FBI agentry were killed and three others were injured in a shooting early February 2, 2021, as authorities were executing a warrant in Sunrise, Florida. Police in Austin, Texas are searching for possible multiple suspects in a shooting early on Saturday morning. CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/Getty Images