What started as Austin city workers attempting to trim a Texas man’s unkempt lawn resulted in the homeowner shooting at landscapers, a house fire, and a standoff with police that ended with a deadly encounter.
The owner of the property was reportedly notified during the summer that “weeds were more than a foot tall,” which violated the city code. The owner was allegedly ordered to mow the lawn by Aug. 19. Apparently, the homeowner never complied.
Around 9:16 a.m. on Wednesday, Austin Police offers attempted to serve a nuisance search warrant, but they were unable to locate the resident, according to Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon.
At 10:21 a.m., an officer reported gunshots were being fired at them, and the shooter was inside the home where the search warrant was issued.
“They attempted to cut the lawn for him, and this is the reaction they got,” Austin Police spokesperson Jose Mendez said in a statement.
“They immediately backed off. They got all of the staff that was working on the house to safety and a SWAT call was initiated for a barricaded subject,” said Chacon.
A SWAT team arrived at 10:43 a.m., along with a mental health counselor, and a crisis negotiator. Officials attempted to deescalate the situation for several hours by communicating with the gunman through a public address system.
However, the man fired several shots at officers in the rear of the residence at roughly 3:19 p.m.
Law enforcement deployed a robot into the home to assess the situation. The camera on the robot informed authorities that a fire had been started in the home and was spreading quickly. Despite the dangerous fire, the man refused to come out of the home until the dwelling became fully engulfed in flames.
The armed man exited through the garage with “weapons in his hands.”
“At that time, a SWAT officer shot and struck the resident who went down with a gunshot wound,” Chief Chacon said.
Officers pulled the downed man away from the inferno and treated his life-threatening wounds. The man was taken to a local hospital – where he was pronounced dead.
A code inspector suffered a minor shoulder injury during the standoff while seeking cover, according to the Statesman.
The house fire was extinguished by Austin Fire Department before it could spread to the nearby homes.
The SWAT officer who shot the man has been with the department for eight years and will be placed on administrative leave during administrative and criminal investigations into the fatal shooting.
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