Austin, TX - A handcuffed man who was in custody for shoplifting and possession of a controlled substance shot himself in the head in the back seat of an Austin Police Officer's vehicle Sunday afternoon.
According to The Statesman, an unidentified Austin Police Officer had arrested and handcuffed the suspect at the Barton Creek Mall around 12:00 PM. He then placed the man in the back seat of his patrol car to transport him to the Austin Police Department to be fingerprinted so that he could be identified. In a conversation that was recorded via the patrol car's interior camera, the suspect told the Austin Police Officer that he had suicidal thoughts. The APD Officer asked the suspect if he was armed, and the suspect said yes. He somehow was able to pull a gun from behind his back and then pointed the gun at his head.
Brian Manley, Interim Austin Police Chief, said that the Officer got out of the vehicle, reported the incident over the radio and began commanding the suspect to put the gun down. Multiple Officers responded to the location of the incident, the 500 block of Lavaca Street, and cleared people from the street. The suspect pointed the gun at his head off and on for a total of six minutes, and then fired one shot into his head. The incident was recorded on the vehicle's camera.
The suspect was taken out of the patrol vehicle by Officers, who provided first aid until paramedics arrived. He was transported to University Medical Center Brackenridge, where he is being treated for life-threatening injuries and remains in critical condition. The suspect was not immediately identified but was believed to be in his late teens or 20's. He is also possibly wanted for multiple felonies. No other shots were fired and no one else was injured.
Interim Police Chief Manley said that the Officer was an 11-year veteran and that a second Officer who was following the first patrol vehicle was a seven-year veteran. The incident is under investigation by Internal Affairs.
It's a good thing that the camera was rolling, but the involved officer is unlikely to escape discipline for missing the gun. What do you think about this incident? Please let us know on Facebook or in the comments below.