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Austin police officer cleared in 2012 shooting

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An Austin police officer who shot at a driver as she plowed through a crowd on 6th Street is off the hook. A Travis County Grand Jury declined to indict him in the 2012 incident downtown.

A driver striking multiple pedestrians, it sounds similar to the South by Southwest incident but it happened nearly two years before.

You can hear the screeching of a car, then four gunshots.

It was on October 20, 2012 when police shot at a woman who was driving down a barricaded section of East 6th Street.

"Obviously what we saw at South by Southwest; something like this could have extremely tragic consequences," said John Moritz, CLEAT.

Officers say it was just after 2 a.m. when Gwen Daniels was leaving a bar where she worked and got into her parked car. Video shows just how packed it was that night.

Daniels reportedly honked in an effort to back out of her spot. As a result, officers say some people got upset. They began to strike her car, one person even jumped on the hood. Fearing for her own safety, Daniels reportedly accelerated through the crowd.

"When the officer found out what was happening, the car was basically coming for him. It had hit two or three people, injured them and required some hospitalization. Countless more were at risk," said Moritz.

Austin Police Officer Robert Krummel, along with three other officers, yelled at her to stop.

When authorities say Daniels disregarded their commands, that’s when Krummel shot at her car four times.

"You've got to remember, a vehicle driving into a crowd is just as deadly as anybody firing a gun into that crowd. So this is a very serious situation. The officer had to do and had to think in super-fast real time because that car was barreling down on him, and the pedestrians and his colleagues," said Moritz.

The shots missed Daniels but did cause her to stop. Officers pinned her down as they made the arrest. Then she's taken into custody.

"That's what the community expects. They expect him to put his own safety at risk to save the greater number of people. So that's what officer Krummel did and he should be thanked," said Moritz.

Gwen Daniels was not charged for injuring two people with her car. Before the grand jury made their decision to clear the officer Tuesday, they heard more than eight hours of testimony from ten witnesses.

To prevent another car-in-a-crowd situation, like what happened in 2012 and in March at South by Southwest, there are new parking regulations for East 6th Street between Red River and Brazos.

Street parking is not allowed between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m., Thursday through Saturday nights.

The new regulations begin this Thursday, May 15th. Signs about the new parking restrictions have already gone up. Towing will begin Thursday.

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