Austin officer called a hero after killing robbery suspect
Man was firing assault rifle in residential neighborhood
By JANET ELLIOTT: Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau
AUSTIN — A rookie police officer is being described as a hero for killing a robbery suspect who was firing an assault rifle in a residential neighborhood Thursday.
Officer Will Ray, 22, returned fire after the suspect, armed with an AK-47 and wearing a bulletproof vest, shot at police while running away.
"He responded appropriately, and I think heroically, this morning," Acevedo said at an afternoon briefing with reporters.
The dead suspect, an adult man, is believed to have been involved in an earlier shooting at a nearby residence that left two people wounded.
One man was treated and released, and a second was hospitalized and is expected to survive.
Police are pursuing aggravated robbery charges against two other men taken into custody and were searching for two more men.
Austin school district police Cpt. David Rider said the decision to keep children home was made as buses were about to start their rounds to pick up elementary school students. He said that as the situation changed later, buses were allowed to pick up students and drop them off at their middle school, located next to a closed elementary school.
The mayhem began with an initial call shortly before 4 a.m. of fighting at a residence. Arriving officers heard gunshots, Acevedo said, and spotted the suspects fleeing in pickup.
Five men left the vehicle and began running away, police said. One fired an AK-47 at police and Ray fired back, striking the man, who died at the scene, the chief said.
"When you are in a tremendously stressful situation, if you are a 22-year-old man who is new to law enforcement and engaged a suspect who is armed much more heavily than you are ... you're either going to fall back on experience, or you're going to fall back on training," he said.