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Suspect shot by APD officer dies

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A suspect who was shot by an Austin Police officer Tuesday night died Wednesday in the hospital. 

That man, 42-year-ld Maurice Paladino, had been in Texas prisons multiple times and was accused by APD of attempting to run over several officers. 

Paladino was pronounced dead at 3:06 p.m. at UMC Brackenridge Hospital.

The shooting took place in South Austin on I-35 near Woodward around 8:30 Tuesday night.

Several hours before,around 10:30 Tuesday morning Paladino walked into Long Motors on South Congress Ave interested in buying a Jeep. But salesman Gaspar Samano showed him a 2002 silver Nissan Xterra and says Paladino wanted to test drive it.

Paladino handed over his driver's license, but by the time Samano realized the ID wasn't Paladino's, it was too late.

"He did not come back with the car," said Samano.

Samano says sometimes customers take the cart to mechanics and get them checked out. After several hours, he called police, which led to the scene on I-35 near Woodward Tuesday night.

Dozens of police responded after an officer spotted the suspect and the stolen SUV at Country Garden Inn and Suites. As more officers arrived, they say the suspect got into the SUV and drove toward them. That's when senior police officer Brandon Blanche fired off several shots, striking Paladino.

It's the same day Police Chief Art Acevedo, announced policy changes at the department. Now, officers aren't allowed to place themselves in the path of a moving vehicle and must seek cover.

The Chief said Officer Blanche did try to get out of the way and that this incident is different. The officer wasn't shooting at a car.

"We did not shoot at a car, we shot at the driver of a car in the progress of committing a felony in terms of aggravated assault or attempted murder of a peace officer by driving a vehicle, that vehicle is a weapon," said Chief Acevedo.

The chief says the critical incident is captured on police dash cameras. He reviewed them and says the events are consistent with officers and witnesses saw.

Paladino was in Texas prisons four different times for various crimes. Chief Acevedo points out this isn't the first time Paladino tried to injure a police officer.

"He is a dangerous individual with an extensive criminal history wanted on 16 different felony warrants throughout Austin and throughout several cities and counties here in the greater Austin area," said Chief Acevedo.

There are two ongoing investigations, a criminal and an administrative one.

The second determines if department policy was followed.

Officer Blanche has been with the department since 2003 and is on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure.

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