Thursday 8 December 2016

Gunman opens fire on late night crowd, killing one and injuring three

Alex Dobuzinskis

Published 01/08/2016 | 02:30

Police block off an area of 6th Street in downtown Austin, Texas, yesterday after two shootings. Photo: Getty/Drew Anthony Smith
Police block off an area of 6th Street in downtown Austin, Texas, yesterday after two shootings. Photo: Getty/Drew Anthony Smith

A gunman killed a woman and seriously wounded three others in Austin early yesterday when he shot into a crowd as people streamed out of nightclubs in the Texas capital's downtown area, police said.

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The unidentified gunman opened fire at about 2.15am local time before fleeing, Austin police chief of staff Brian Manley told reporters.

The motive for the attack, which occurred just minutes after bars closed, was not immediately clear.

"It was a chaotic scene," Mr Manley said. He described people emerging from clubs and bars running in all directions at the sound of gunfire, as police officers on patrol rushed to the scene.

The gunman killed a woman in her 20s and wounded three other women, who were taken to a hospital with injuries that are serious but not life-threatening, Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services spokesman Mike Benavides said.

Mr Manley said police were seeking help from the public, including any video recordings, in an effort to find the shooter who is believed to be in his 20s.

Minutes after that shooting, a man opened fire several blocks away in a confrontation at a parking garage, Mr Manley said. Bystanders tackled the shooter, he said. Police initially believed the two shootings were related and that they were dealing with an "active shooter", but that was not the case, he added.

"From everything we can tell at this point through the initial investigation, these are two unrelated incidents," Mr Manley told reporters.

The suspect who opened fire in the garage was transported to a hospital for injuries suffered when bystanders subdued him, Mr Manley said. There were no reports of anyone being struck by bullets in that incident.

The Austin shootings follow several recent major acts of gun violence in the US. On June 12, a gunman who sympathised with Islamist extremist groups killed 49 people at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

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