Police searching for suspect from fatal East Austin shooting

The suspect in a deadly East Austin shooting Tuesday night is still on the run.  (Photo courtesy: Andrea Brown)

The suspect in a deadly East Austin shooting Tuesday night is still on the run.

The Austin Police Department says at approximately 11:44 p.m., officers responded to a 911 call stating that someone had been shot in the parking lot of the Travis Station Apartments located at 6600 Ed Bluestein Blvd.

Homicide Sergeant Eric De Los Santos said when officers arrived, they found 30-year-old Ebony Sheppard with obvious trauma to her body. Austin-Travis County EMS arrived shortly afterwards and transported Sheppard to Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas. Ebony Sheppard succumbed to her injury and was pronounced deceased at 12:33 a.m.

Sheppard's family members gathered together, heartbroken and shocked Ebony is no longer with them.

"Her smile lit up the world. Just beautiful," said Janet Harris, Sheppard's mother. "I'm barely making it. It's too hard."

Harris and other family members say right now, they just have so many unanswered questions.

They don't know why anyone would kill Ebony, because she did not hang with the wrong crowd, and just focused on working to provide for her and her 4-year-old son.

"She'd go out of her way to do something for you if she thought she could do it," said Andrea Brown, Sheppard's aunt. "[Her son] won't know what a wonderful mother he had except for what we tell him."

Throughout the interview, you could hear Sheppard's son cry, saying, "I want my mommy."

Family members say Ebony had such a bright future ahead of her.

She was passionate about makeup artistry.

"She had looks. She had brains. She had talent," Brown said.

Harris said she and Ebony were visiting a family member at the apartment complex where the shooting happened.

This was a matter of being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

"I heard the gunshot," Harris said. "Not being able to see her everyday, and joke with me everyday."

Family members say this was a robbery gone wrong.

Austin Police have not released many details on the shooting, or the circumstances leading up to the shooting.

Early Wednesday morning, Austin Police said they had a suspect in custody, but Wednesday afternoon at a press briefing, Sgt. De Los Santos confirmed that man was released by police.

According to De Los Santos, witnesses identified who they thought was the shooter. That man was detained and questioned, but ultimately released by APD. "He was detained because witnesses on scene indicated that this person may have been involved, but like I said, we believe he was not involved, so this person has been released," De Los Santos said.

Sgt. De Los Santos said they are unsure if the shooter is a man or woman so they're asking more witnesses to come forward.

"The information that we have is just a male or female in a black hoodie and that they ran to a white car afterwards and that car exited the apartment complex," De Los Santos said.

As police continue the investigation, all Sheppard's family asks for now is justice.

"Whoever did it, I want you to know you ruined my life. It will never be the same," Harris said.

Investigators are asking anyone with information regarding this incident to call the Homicide Tip Line at 512-477-3588 or Crime Stoppers at 512-472-TIPS.

This case is under investigation.

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