Photos and videos show a chaotic scene after at least 13 people were injured from a mass shooting in Austin's bustling entertainment district. Police in the Texas city say the perpetrator is still at large.
The first call of shots fired came in to 911 around 1:24 a.m. local time Saturday. The incident occurred in a popular area featuring bars and restaurants, which attracted large "pre-pandemic" sized crowds on the night of the incident. Austin-Travis County EMS medics responded to the emergency, which they described as an "active attack."
Taylor Blount was at 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 told the Austin American-Statesman. "People were freaking out a lot, and there were some people crying, but most people were just freaking out."
(CAUTION: Graphic video):
"It was very difficult to contain the scene, it was very difficult for EMS to make their way into this crowd," interim Austin Police Chief Joe 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."
EMS took four people to the hospital by ambulance, Austin police took six other victims to the hospital, and three were taken by private vehicle.
"I'm happy to report no one has died," Chacon said.
"We do have two patients in critical condition," he added. "We have a total of 11 people transported to one hospital, one was transported to a different hospital and one person reported to an Urgent Care Clinic. So there is a total of 13 shooting victims."
"Our officers responded very quickly," Chacon continued. "They were able to immediately begin life-saving measures for many of these patients, including applications of tourniquets; applications of chest seals."
"Security (on Sixth Street) is always pretty good down here because of the way that we cordon off the streets, block off the streets, using barricades and try to keep people safe that way," he said.
The "large crime scene" was blocked off following the incident to begin the investigation. Investigators are reviewing video footage of the area of the shooting, including from the Public Safety Camera System. Detectives from the Aggravated Assault, Homicide, Organized Crime, and Gang units are involved in the investigation, police said. The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force Team is also on scene, Chacon noted.
Authorities say the perpetrator appears to have fired randomly into the crowd. The interim police chief said the motive for the shooting was "unclear" at this time. Investigators have not ruled out gang involvement. "At this time, this appears to be an isolated incident," Chacon stated.
Police noted that they do not have a "very detailed" description of the suspect, who Chacon said is a "black male wearing a black shirt with a skinny build and with dreadlocks."
Chacon said Saturday's incident was part of an alarming trend of shootings in Austin.
"What we have seen in recent months and over the last year or so is an increase in gun violence," Chacon said. "And so this is just emblematic of that, it continues, and it's something we're trying to work to decrease."
Anyone with more information or video of the shooting are encouraged to call police detectives at 512-974-8477, or contact Crime Stoppers by calling the tip line at 512-472-8477 or the mobile app.
13 hurt in downtown Austin shooting; suspect not in custody www.youtube.com
Police: At least 13 people hospitalized after mass shooting in downtown Austin www.youtube.com