APD officer involved in shooting in NE Austin - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

APD officer involved in shooting in NE Austin

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An aunt cries "why?" on an east Austin Street. That's the question on the minds of Jhawri Smith's family members.

"The officer shot the young man five times," said a resident at the Red Oak Apartments.

She didn't want to show her face on camera, but says he heard the shooting.

The anonymous eyewitness said, "The gunshots were so loud I thought they were coming through my apartment."

The witness tells FOX 7 Smith was shot in the grass, by the fence, in the 6300 block of Berkman Drive.

"When they were bringing the guy out, he was shot in the face and in the chest," she added.

A little before 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Austin Police responded to a domestic violence call at the apartment complex.

Police Chief Art Acevedo says a 17-year veteran sergeant made his way to the back of the building, coming across the 23-year-old suspect and his girlfriend, who made the original 911 call.

Acevedo said, "The suspect had a semi-automatic pistol in his hand. When the sergeant sees it he sees him put it behind his back, allegedly, and then put it back forward. The suspect at one point yells it's a B.B. gun. The sergeant ordered the suspect several times to drop the weapon. The suspect did not comply. The sergeant, in fear for his life, fired several rounds."

Acevedo would not confirm where or how many times the suspect was hit.

Traeshina Williams, Smith's cousin, said, "The simple fact that someone can be shot in the face five times is just like...you know? We need our police force to be re-trained. What is the point of having a taser?"

"He did not use his taser," said Acevedo.

Traeshina added, "One of the witnesses said that he didn't have a weapon, so when they produce this weapon, then...let us know. The same incident happened with Sophia when they claimed she had a weapon and they shot her in the back."

Leroy Pickens and Traeshina are also related to Sophia King. She was a mentally ill 23-year-old mother who was fatally shot by an Austin police officer in 2002. Federal investigators found the officer did not violate the law and had to use deadly force to save the life of a housing authority employee, who was being threatened by King with a butcher knife.

"We will be assessing whether or not the use of deadly force was appropriate under the circumstances of this call," added Acevedo.

In the meantime, this family is left waiting for answers from Austin Police again.

APD is not confirming who the suspect is, where he was struck, or where exactly on his body. That information has come from the family.

Police Chief Art Acevedo says there's a history of domestic disturbance calls at the suspect's apartment. Neighbors agree.

Currently, Austin Police are not releasing the name of the sergeant involved. They confirm he was not injured during the shooting and is on paid administrative leave.

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