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Man killed after trying to rob east Austin game room

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A man was shot and killed early Wednesday morning in east Austin. Police say he had a knife and tried to rob a game room manager, who had a gun.

This case is an example why police warn, those who play in and operate secret game rooms are not just gambling with money, they're also risking their lives.

The shooting happened, at 3110 Manor Rd, in a narrow entrance way of a small shopping complex. A bullet hole in the glass door was the one thing a maintenance worker couldn't immediately clean.

Police were called out to the scene shortly after 1 am. According to initial police reports, a game room manager was leaving the building when confronted by a man. The manager, police say, shot and killed robber who was armed with a knife. The man was identified as Byron Ray Maxwell.

"He wouldn't never hurt nobody," said Marsha Page.

Maxwell was a friend and Page believes the shooting was not justified.

"He shot him seven times," said Page.

But the confrontation doesn't surprise Kenny Marler.

"You never know there's a lot of people in and out of here, like the glass got busted the other night from someone kicking it wanting to get in here and the manager won't let them in," said Marler.

Marler runs a business on the second floor. A security camera monitors the hallway. A sign on the door states: no new members are being sought at this time. Marler says he once got a glimpse inside of the games of chance being played.

"It's slot machines, slot machines," said Marler.

According to APD dispatch records, Austin Police has been sent to the Manor Rd address five times since 2009. None of the cases involved the game room, which may have opened only a few months ago.

A violent incident is usually how police learn about game room operations. Cash pay outs are not legal, but typically a lot of money is in play. Machines confiscated in past raids, sometimes are marked "for amusement only." Red tickets churn out of the machines that should be redeemed only for coupons or gifts can become hard cash.

"People would be astonished by the amount of money that moves through these types of businesses each and every week," said APD Commander Duane McNeill in 2006.

The commander's statement from six years ago still holds true today, as does the danger. The game room that was shut down in 2006, according to police, was targeted by robbers on three different occasions. A violent history that repeated itself on Manor Rd early Wednesday morning.

This is still an active investigation and the name of the manger is not being released at this time.

Back in July about a block from the shooting scene police shutdown a different game room. It's not known if there is a connection.

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