Austin Police identify suspect connected to Monday's homicide, Wednesday's shooting spree

Police say 29-year-old Charles Curry is connected to a shooting death and shooting spree in South Austin. (Photo: Austin Police Department)

The Austin Police Department has identified a suspect they say is connected to a shooting death at an apartment complex on South Lamar on Monday, as well as a shooting spree that left several people injured in South Austin yesterday.

Police say 29-year-old Charles Curry was taken into custody Wednesday . However police have not identified a motive or connection between Curry and any of the victims.

The shooting death happened at around 1:45 p.m. Monday at the Post South Lamar Apartments, located in the 1500 block of South Lamar, about a mile south of the Barton Springs Road intersection.

Investigators with the Austin Police Department said officers responded to a call of shots fired at the complex and found 32-year-old Christian Meroney with obvious head trauma. First responders attempted to resuscitate him, but he was declared dead just before 2 p.m.

The shooting spree started Thursday around 2 p.m. in the 8100 block of the South I-35 northbound service road, just north of the Slaughter Lane intersection. That's where the suspect shot a 33-year-old woman with three children in the vehicle.

"Thank goodness that the bullet wound was not fatal" said Austin PD Assistant Chief Joseph Chacon.

Police said the suspect was involved in three other incidents at nearby locations, including one shooting that sent glass flying into a 25-year-old woman's face. "It appears that the bullet entered the vehicle and went right behind the driver's head," Chacon explained.

Three of the four victims were driving at the time of the shootings however only two were injured. Police say the shootings happened while the suspect was driving near 8100 South I-35 northbound service road, 5300 Ponciana Drive, 1500 South Lamar Boulevard and 4000 South Lamar Boulevard.

APD says the same gun was used in the drive-by shootings and the murder on Monday.

"Ballistics testing has shown the same weapon was used in both incidents," Chacon said. The US Marshals arrested Curry at The Post South Lamar apartments Wednesday evening. Is the same address where Meroney was shot and killed on Monday.

The Austin Police Department said the shootings on Wednesday all appear to be random and they've found no motive behind Meroney's murder.

The Texas State Senate Secretary said Curry worked temporarily at the Capitol as a Senate Messenger for 51 days in 2016 then worked for Senator Joan Huffman as a policy analyst for just over six months after that.

A source that works at the Capitol who ran in the similar circles with Curry said he was "overly persistent" about getting a job in Texas politics. The source didn't want to have their named use for security purposes. They said they were "shocked" but "not surprised" when they learned he was the suspect in Meroney's murder and Wednesday's shooting spree.

Craig Murphy, president of the political consulting firm Murphy Nasica, said Curry was never an employee but wanted to be a contractor in September of 2017. Murphy said Curry worked the first 12 days then said he had arthritis that he needed treatment for. He continued his position as an aspiring vendor for 10 days but Murphy said Curry "wasn't up to standards." Murphy said that Curry's claims that he worked for Texas House Speaker Joe Straus are "blatantly false" because the position of campaign coordinator doesn't exist because Straus isn't running for reelection.

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