AUSTIN (KXAN) — A routine traffic stop for a suspected DWI driver ended up in an officer-involved shooting and a police chase in east Austin around 12:30 a.m. Monday morning.
Austin Police Chief Brian Manley says the incident began when an officer tried to pull over at 25-year-old Hispanic man for possible DWI on Airport Boulevard. Manley said the driver refused to stop and led the officer on a short chase where he pulled over on Marks Street, near Munson Street. As the officer approached the driver, Manley said the suspect immediately put the car in reverse, knocking the officer down on the ground and underneath his vehicle.
A back-up officer who saw the assault fired his weapon at the suspect vehicle in an effort to stop the driver, police say. While the vehicle was hit, the driver was not and he pulled out of the cul de sac and drove away a second time, leading police on a second chase. During the six-minute pursuit, police used spike strips to stop the suspect. The chase ended in the 5200 block of Roggie Lane, near Manor Road, where the suspect was apprehended.
The officer who was run over has been with the department for 19 years. He taken to the hospital where he was treated and released.
“We’re fortunate in that the injuries were not more substantial given the acts that took place here today,” said Manley.
Neighbor Tanisha Harris said she was home and awake when it happened right outside her door.
“All of sudden, we just see the whole back side of the house light up with police lights and we are like, ‘Oh my god, this is close’ because this is a residential area and there are older people here so we really don’t get that much stuff over here,” she said. “All of a sudden we just see this guy swerve in here really fast and an officer tried to get him out of the car.”
Police say the suspect had warrants out for his arrest out of Pflugerville where he was wanted for leaving the scene of a crash. He will also be charged with DWI.
“There was no firecrackers. It was really really loud. It was like boom boom boom. It was really scary,” said Harris
The officer who fired his weapon is a four-year member of the department and will be placed on administrative leave, which is the customary practice during the police investigation. The department’s Internal Affairs Division will conduct the investigation with oversight from the Police Monitor’s Office.
This happened during APD’s No Refusal initiative. According to the Austin police chase policy, an officer must consider a dozen factors before being engaged in a chase. This includes evaluating the safety of the area, time of day, amount of traffic and the speed of pursuit. They must also consider the risk to their own lives and innocent motorists before being led on a chase.