Austin, Texas – The Austin Police Department (APD) is currently investigating four separate shootings that occurred over the weekend of July 15-16, resulting in the deaths of five individuals. The incidents have contributed to a total of 39 homicides in the city so far this year, highlighting the growing concern over public safety.
Cpl. Jose Mendez of the APD described Sunday night as particularly busy, acknowledging the strain on resources caused by the shortage of detectives.
With only 16 detectives assigned to the homicide unit, some are being pulled into patrol duties, which is not the norm for their position. The department has expressed the need for additional detectives to address the rising number of cases and ensure that each investigation receives sufficient attention.
Mayor Kirk Watson, while recognizing the importance of increasing police staffing levels, stated that the number of officers alone does not guarantee a reduction in homicides. However, Watson emphasized the significance of solving crimes and bringing perpetrators to justice, underscoring the need to bolster the police force.
The tweet below verifies the news:
Deadly weekend in Austin after multiple homicides. How is the APD staffing shortage impacting homicide investigations? Mayor Watson weighs in. Check out my story below. https://t.co/LeJwihyvZQ
— Nabil Brent Remadna KXAN (@RemadnaKXAN) July 17, 2023
Among the recent incidents, the APD identified the victim of the shooting in a West Austin parking lot as 45-year-old Jarod Mason. Authorities are offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of the shooter, as they believe multiple suspects fled the scene in a vehicle.
Another incident occurred in southeast Austin, where investigators believe a man shot and killed his wife before taking his own life. The tragic event took place at a residence on South Glenn Street, with the bodies of 73-year-old Eva Carol Dotson Penton and 65-year-old Timothy McDonald discovered by officers.
In a separate incident in southeast Austin, a Hispanic man in his 40s was found dead near an abandoned building with signs of trauma to his body. Police suspect a verbal altercation between two individuals led to the shooting, and efforts are underway to locate a person of interest.
Lastly, a teenager lost their life in a shooting at a gas station on Airport Boulevard. The victim was found inside the Valero gas station, suffering from apparent gunshot wounds. Despite attempts by officers and paramedics to save the teen, they succumbed to their injuries at the scene.
The APD continues to investigate these incidents, and the department is urging anyone with information to come forward. As the city grapples with the increasing number of homicides, efforts to bolster police staffing and enhance public safety measures remain ongoing.
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