Multiple shootings over the weekend in Austin, Texas taxed police resources and caused frayed nerves at the South by Southwest film and music festival.
A Saturday night shooting near the main thoroughfare of SXSW led to one injury and one arrest, police said. The gunfire rang out in the 300 block of E. 6th Street near a strip of bars and nightclubs that host festival events.
The Austin Police Department said one person was transported to the hospital. The extent of the person’s injuries was not known. One individual was detained moments after the shooting.
A source told Urban Hollywood 411 festival attendees were outside enjoying themselves in what felt like “a massive street party,” when the shots rang out and everyone ducked for cover. A photo posted by Deadline, showed a man being led away in handcuffs.
Hours later at 2:49 a.m., another shooting occurred nearby in the 700 block E. 7th St.
Austin Police Chief Brian Manley held a media briefing, which was posted on social media.
Chief Manley briefing regarding officer involved shooting in the 700 block E. 7th St. https://t.co/PC71I1DlL3
— Austin Police Dept (@Austin_Police) March 17, 2019
Manley said the early morning violence erupted after two vehicles were involved in a collision, followed by a fist fight, then someone pulled out a gun.
At that point, multiple officers in the area ran toward the incident and one of the suspects opened fire on the police, Manley said. The officers fired back, but the suspects fled. A passerby was injured.
Manley said they have identified persons of interest in the case, but as of publication time, the suspects remained on the loose.
In addition to these two shootings overnight on March 17, there were three other shootings over the weekend in Austin, with one of them also occurring near the epicenter of SXSW.
Manley said the weekend violence stretched police resources.
“I want to point out here that as a result of the shooting that occurred last night, we had shifted our resources, and we had approximately 50 officers working this intersection between 6th Street and 7th Street,” he said.
“This comes on the heels of what has been a violent weekend in Austin where we have seen multiple shootings, and this is unacceptable,” he added. “We are not going to let our entertainment district be turned into a place where shootings become a common occurrence and this weekend will not stand without a strong response from the police department”
The police chief told reporters the Austin PD is working on a plan to ensure that there are additional officers in the area.
The 2019 SXSW festival ran from March 8 to March 17. It drew a legion of Hollywood stars, nationally known politicians and entertainment journalists.