A Leander police officer fatally shot a man at the InTown Suites in North Lamar on June 14 (Photo by Austin Sanders)
A Leander police officer shot and killed a man at an Austin motel in the early morning hours of Tuesday, June 14, while executing a search warrant in connection with a narcotics investigation. The fatal shooting was the first of the Leander Police Department44 years of history, according to Lt. LPD. Derral Partin.
A Cedar Park police investigation produced the warrant that led to the search at Suites in town, an extended stay hotel located at 9909 N. Lamar. The raid was led by the Central Texas Regional SWAT Team, a cross-jurisdictional collaboration between Leander, Cedar Park, Georgetown and Pflugerville Police, and Georgetown and Pflugerville Fire Departments to provide tactical medical assistance. Partin also said the June 14 shooting was the first involving CTRS since the team was formed in 2014.
At press time, neither the victim nor the officer who killed him have been publicly identified, although in a press release, LPD said the victim was a 34-year-old white male and that the he officer had been placed on paid administrative duty, as is common practice after a police shooting. The Austin Police DepartmentThe Special Investigations Unit is investigating the shooting, as it does shootings involving APD officers. It is unclear to what extent the APD was involved in the planning or conduct of the raid; Partin noted that it is common for narcotics investigations to cross jurisdictional boundaries. Two DPA officers were on the scene when the warrant was executed.
News of the fatal shooting sparked concern among Austin justice advocates who feared the raid was prompted by a no-knock warrant, a month after Austin voters approved at a overwhelmingly a ballot measure banning the ODA from using such warrants. Partin said that was not the case and the participating officers should have (or should have) announced their presence before entering the suspect’s room. The the Chronicle interviewed three motel guests about the raid; two were not there at the time and one did not want to talk.
After the shooting, LPD reported that a cache of drugs, cash and two firearms were recovered during the raid, but questions remain: was the deceased a suspect, or a hotel guest, or just a guest of the person renting the room? ? Partin said one of the weapons recovered was taken by the APD as evidence, but did not say whether the victim was holding a gun or whether either was fired at officers. He confirmed that no officers or other hotel guests were harmed during the execution of the warrant.
The the Chronicle submitted these and other follow-up questions to Partin, who was acting as a spokesperson for LPD, but he was unable to respond due to the ongoing APD investigation and directed us to APD, which did not respond at press time.