Police in Austin, Texas, are searching for a suspect in a shooting early on Saturday that injured 13 people in the city’s downtown entertainment district.
Authorities said they had responded to reports of multiple shots fired about 1.30am and had initially located several victims who had sustained gunshot wounds and were injured.
A total of 13 victims sustained gunshot wounds or were injured, Austin PD said in a statement. Eleven victims were in stable condition, and two victims were in critical condition. No fatalities have been reported.
Police added that it remained unknown if there was one, or multiple suspects involved, but offered description of one suspect they were seeking as “a black male, with dread locks, wearing a black shirt and a skinny build”.
The APD’s interim chief, Joseph Chacon, said at a briefing that there were initial reports of three shooting victims in the area around 6th street. That was soon upgraded when emergency services reached the scene.
“Our officers responded very quickly,” Chacon said. “They were able to immediately begin life-saving measures for many of these patients, including applications of tourniquets; applications of chest seals.”
Chacon also said some officers transported patients to hospitals in their police cruisers due to the nature of the scene, where it was hard to contain the crowd and get ambulances to those who were injured.
The shooter was not immediately arrested. Chacon said the description that police had of the suspect was “not very detailed” but said the person was believed to be a man.
Chacon said many of the shooting victims had been transported to area hospitals in police cars because crowds in the area had made it difficult for EMS to reach the scene.
At this point, Chacon said, police were reviewing surveillance video from the area.
“Our aggravated assault and homicide unit detectives are out investigating, as well as members of our organized crime and gang units to see if this incident was gang-related. It’s not clear what sparked this off, but out of an abundance of caution we have notified the the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.”
Austin’s Mayor Steve Adler made a series of comments on Twitter.
“The uptick in gun violence locally is part of a disturbing rise in gun violence across the country as we exit the pandemic,” he said.
“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.”