AUSTIN (KXAN) — At least 13 people were injured in a shooting in downtown Austin early Saturday morning.
During a briefing Saturday morning, Interim Police Chief Joseph Chacon said the shooting happened at 400 E. 6th Street, which is near Trinity Street. There are many bars in the area. The initial 911 call about shots fired came in at about 1:24 a.m.
Chacon said 11 people are now receiving treatment at one hospital, while one victim went to a separate hospital and another received treatment at an emergency room. There are no deaths to report at this time.
Two of these patients are in critical condition, according to Chacon.
Police said they are still searching for the suspected gunman. Chacon could only share a vague description at this time. He said the suspect may be a Black man with a “skinny” build and locs-style hair. A motive for the shooting is not yet known.
Chacon said he could not say there’s not a danger to the public since the suspect’s not in custody. However, he said the shooting appears to be isolated just to this area in downtown.
He said his officers rushed six patients to the hospital in their patrol vehicles, while Austin-Travis County EMS paramedics ended up taking four. Three were transported in personal vehicles, police said.
Police explained officers took some victims in patrol cars because the size of the large crowd on 6th Street and the chaotic scene made it difficult for EMS and the Austin Fire Department to get to the area. Chacon credited his officers for applying first aid and tourniquets to save some of the victims.
“We were in line to a get into a bar on Sixth Street,” said witness Matt Perlstein. “Everything was totally fine.”
Perlstein said there was a large police presence all night because there were so many people out in the area — then he said, they heard the gunshots.
“We just heard like nine — a bunch — of gunshots going off. Everyone got on the ground. We couldn’t even comprehend what was going on at the time.”
“It was pretty surreal,” witness David Frost said. “You couldn’t even fathom something like that would happen outside.”
Chacon said the FBI is on scene to assist police with the mass shooting investigation.
In a statement Saturday morning, Austin Mayor Steve Adler said in part: “APD and the City Council have initiated multiple violence prevention efforts in response- but this crisis requires a broader, coordinated response from all levels of government. One thing is clear – greater access to firearms does not equal greater public safety.”
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call 911 or (512) 472-TIPS.
KXAN will work to provide additional updates, as more details are shared.
Author: Will DuPree
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin