Austin bar manager describes night of fights leading to police shooting
"You can see a hand in the air, gun shots and then everybody started to scatter," said Adrian Crudup, a manager at a bar just off Sixth Street in Downtown Austin.
Crudup described a night of fights that ended with a young man being shot and killed by Austin police. The victim's name has not been released, but police say he is a 21-year-old black man. The next step in the investigation is viewing video from police body cameras, as well as surveillance video from nearby businesses. Police also need witnesses to come forward.
Crudup says he saw the violence unfold while he stood outside the bar that is around the corner from the Terminal 6 club on Sixth Street.
“It was pretty rowdy outside,” said Crudup. “They were having fights in the back alley right behind our bar.”
Just when the bar manager thought the crowd was settling down, people started calling 911 about two men shooting in the alley behind Terminal 6.
“I saw a hand go up, fire, fire, fire and then that was it. And then I saw people run and the cops go this way,” said Crudup.
When the Austin police officers got to the alley that runs behind Terminal 6 they say a man was running toward them with a gun in his hand.
"And then there was a barrage of shots after that, probably like over six," said Crudup.
APD says officers patrolling the Sixth Street area told the man to drop the weapon before eight officers opened fire. A ninth officer also fired a stun gun. Crudup doesn't know why the 21-year-old would reportedly run toward police with a gun, but he says the earlier shots that were fired weren't aimed at anyone. He says they were directed up in the air.
"It was kind of like a masculine thing, who's going to be the top dog, but nobody wanted to hurt each other. So, it was more like a sign of back up, get away from me. Pow, pow," said Crudup.
At the opposite end of the alley, the chef at one downtown food truck says the overnight violence is nothing new.
"We just heard like five to eight gunshots," said Jose Martin who manages Llama's Food Trailer at 611 Trinity Street.
"You get used to it, you know. At this point when you hear boom, boom, boom, you just hide, see what happens, pray for the best," said Martin.
The chef says he let four customers visiting Austin take cover with him inside the food trailer.
"Get in the trailer and just hide and 10 minutes later you will be fine. Just hide for a little bit," said Martin.
It wasn't the warmest welcome to the city and Martin thinks downtown crime and violence is impacting a lot of first impressions. He says the fact downtown food truck operators have a plan for when shots are fired is telling.
"It's not the first time, so we know what to do now," said Martin.
The eight Austin police officers who fired their weapons are now on administrative leave. The officers have been on the police force from one to six years.