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Friday, April 6, 2012

'A tragedy on Good Friday' Police death

AUSTIN (KXAN) - An Austin police officer has been killed after a shooting inside a North Austin Walmart.
"It's a tragedy on Good Friday to lose an officer like this, but it's part of what these men and women do," said Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo, addressing the media at 6 a.m. "They know when they become police officers that this is ultimately the sacrifice they are willing to make."
Public Information Officer Anthony Hipolito said they got a 911 call at 2:21 a.m. of an intoxicated person wandering around the store. The officer killed was the first to arrive at the scene eight minutes after being dispatched to Walmart.
When he went inside, the officer made contact with the male suspect, who immediately began fighting with the officer.
During the fight, the suspect pulled out a semiautomatic pistol and shot the officer at point blank in the neck area, according to Acevedo.
The officer was able to radio for help, saying he had been shot. Another officer arrived, took the suspect into custody and began administering CPR to the fallen officer.
"Despite the valiant efforts of our officer who started CPR, and EMS, the officer succumb to his injury and was pronounced at the scene at 2:44 a.m.," said Acevedo.
Acevedo spoke with the family of the fallen officer around 5:30 a.m. He was a father of two daughters, ages 10 and 6. He leaves behind an ex-wife who lives in the area, parents and family in San Angelo.
The officer's name has not been released because they are waiting to make sure family in San Angelo has been notified of his death.
While they have an arrest, the charges are not yet known.
"We want to put the community at ease that there is a suspect in custody and not someone running around on the loose," said Hipolito.
Said the officer involved was on duty when it happened. The officer killed is the one who responded that call of the intoxicated person.
Familiar with the strong ties of a tight-knit police family, Travis County sheriff's deputies arrived at the scene around 5:30 a.m. to offer their condolences to the department.
There were dozens of police at the store at 12900 North Interstate 35 near Parmer Lane early Friday morning.
The entire parking lot is off limits, as police have that and all entrances blocked off. No one can get into the Walmart, and a lot of people have not even been able to leave the store
The deadly shooting early Friday morning came seven hours after another officer-involved shooting in East Austin that ended in the death of a suspect and the officer involved hospitalized with injuries.
Acevedo said they are making sure to gather everything at the scene.
Witnesses said they were in the back of the store when they heard a loud boom and thought it was a 2X4 hitting the floor. That's when someone came running up to a Walmart employee screaming about a shooting.
The witnesses said they ran to the front of the store and saw someone on the floor receiving CPR, though they didn't know it was an police officer at the time. Officers had already responded by that time, and people had begun to gather at the front of the store by the McDonald's at the entrance.

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