Police have a suspect in custody following a string of brutal attacks that left six dead and two police officers wounded Tuesday in Texas.
Interim Austin Police Chief Robin Henderson
indicated Tuesday night that it was unclear until the last incident occurred that the attacks were connected.
“We strongly believe one suspect is responsible for all of the incidents,” said Henderson.
Although the investigation is in the early stages, officials believe the same man is responsible for four slayings in Austin and another two in San Antonio.
According to the Travis County Sheriff’s Office, the Austin Police Department booked 34-year-old Shane James into the Travis County Jail early Wednesday morning. James was charged with capital murder of multiple persons and with various unstated out-of-county misdemeanors.
Henderson indicated that James was also booked for an outstanding assault with injury/family violence warrant and that further charges are pending.
Around 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, an Austin Independent School District police officer was shot in the leg in a parking lot at Northeast Early College High School in east Austin, said Henderson.
Austin School District Police Chief Wayne Sneed
indicated the sergeant who had been hit radioed around 10:40 a.m. that he was taking gunfire. Sneed said the sergeant is in stable condition.
The high school went into lockdown for several hours until given the all-clear.
Before it was understood that the shooter was only getting started, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement, “Our hearts are with the family and loved ones of the Austin ISD police officer who was shot near Northeast Early College High School today. … The State of Texas is offering all available resources to local law enforcement partners who are working to ensure this dangerous criminal is caught and brought to justice.”
Around noon, police responded to reports of gunshots at a home in the 7300 block of Shadywood Drive. One victim was pronounced dead on the scene, and the other later died at hospital, said Henderson.
told KTBC-TV that the noontime slayings involved a handyman and a female witness.
According to the source, the suspect shot a handyman who had been sitting in his car outside a home through the passenger window. A woman inside the home came out to investigate the source of the commotion. Upon seeing what had just taken place, she apparently took off running, but the suspect overtook her and gunned her down, said the source.
The suspect then allegedly returned to the handyman’s vehicle, dumped his corpse on the road, and drove off in the stolen vehicle.
The suspect allegedly resumed his rampage just before 5 p.m., shooting a male cyclist on W. Slaughter Lane and leaving him with non-life-threatening injuries.
Two hours later, police responded to a call of a burglary in progress at a home on Austral Loop in the Circle C neighborhood, where they later found two dead victims.
According to Henderson, at the scene of the double homicide and burglary, police spotted a man lurking in the back yard. The suspect immediately opened fire at police, and an officer responded in kind.
The officer, a 12-year veteran of the Austin Police Department, was struck multiple times in the exchange but is reportedly in stable condition.
The suspect, unscathed in the gunfight, fled the scene in a vehicle, and police gave chase. Following a 15-minute high-speed chase, the suspect crashed the vehicle around 7:14 p.m. at the intersection of South Highway 45 and FM1826 and was apprehended.
Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar
told reporters that the suspect may be linked to a double homicide in San Antonio. A couple in their 50s were found stuffed into the bedroom of a house that Salazar indicated James has an unspecified connection to.
“No one deserves to die the way they did,” said Salazar.
The San Antonio slayings, which Salazar said were “grisly,” took place prior to the Austin shootings.
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