A man fired more than 100 shots at at least three buildings in downtown Austin on Friday morning — including the federal courthouse, the Mexican consulate and Austin Police Department headquarters — before he died of a gunshot wound, according to APD officials.
At a press conference Friday morning, APD Chief Art Acevedo said APD received a call saying shots had been fired in the downtown area at 2:22 a.m.
"That's a very busy time in downtown Austin — usually we're inundated with calls for service right after bar closing," Acevedo said.
Within the next 10 minutes, APD also received reports of shots fired at the federal courthouse, Mexican consulate, and APD headquarters, Acevedo said.
An APD sergeant, putting away some horses into their stable, saw the man and fired a single shot at him, and the man dropped to the ground, Acevedo said. The officer approached the man and noticed he had a "suspicious" vest that could possibly contain explosives or be a suicide-type vest, so a bomb squad was called in to search the area, Acevedo said.
According to Acevedo, officials also found "suspicious cylinders" inside the suspect's vehicle.
"Anytime you have cylinders like these where someone is attacking government facilities, you have to think about … possible explosive devices," Acevedo said.
APD also discovered evidence that showed the man had tried to use propane cylinders to try to ignite the Mexican consulate, Acevedo said.
Both the man's vest and vehicle were later cleared by the bomb squad, but officials are still investigating whether the man was killed or took his own life, Acevedo said.
The officer will be placed on administrative leave with pay, Acevedo said.
Officials are still investigating the motive behind the incident, but, based on the man's targets, Acevedo said immigration issues may have played a role.
"When you look at the national debate about immigration, that certainly comes to mind," Acevedo said.
I-35 was closed for about four hours, and APD headquarters were evacuated, Acevedo said. According to Acevedo, APD does not think there is any further danger posed to anyone else at this time.