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Three dead, including SWAT officer, following hostage incident in Austin: Police

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(AUSTIN, Texas) — Three people are dead after a hostage situation unfolded in Austin, Texas, early Saturday, including a responding SWAT officer who was shot and killed in a shootout with the suspect, police said.

A second officer was also injured and the suspect was killed in the shooting, which occurred at a residence in southwest Austin, police said.

“This has been a very tragic day, a very tragic incident for all involved,” interim Austin Chief of Police Robin Henderson said in emotional remarks during a press briefing on Saturday.

The incident unfolded shortly before 3 a.m. local time Saturday, when a 911 caller requested help at the residence, Henderson said. The caller was “screaming for help” and said somebody was stabbing her, Henderson said.

The first officers who arrived on scene located an injured victim who had managed to escape the residence, Henderson said. She was transported to a local hospital, said Henderson, who did not provide any details on the extent of her injuries.

The officers were notified that two other injured victims were still inside the residence with the suspect, who the escaped victim said still had a knife, Henderson said.

Officers attempted to make an emergency forced entry into the residence to “rescue the two victims,” Henderson said. After they announced themselves as police and entered the residence, they were “fired upon by the suspect,” Henderson said. The officers retreated and did not return fire, she said.

“Because the suspect was armed and barricaded inside a residence and had two hostages, SWAT was called out to the scene,” Henderson said.

SWAT officers arrived shortly after 4 a.m. and attempted a second forced entry to rescue the victims, Henderson said. Upon entry, the suspect “immediately fired,” she said.

Two officers were shot and transported to a local hospital. One succumbed to his injuries despite life-saving measures, while the second is in stable condition, Henderson said.

The two victims were located inside the residence with fatal injuries and pronounced dead at the scene, Henderson said. They have not been publicly identified.

The suspect was also pronounced dead at the scene, she said. The suspect has not been publicly identified.

This is the first time in a decade that an officer from the Austin Police Department has been killed in the line of duty, according to ABC affiliate KVUE in Austin.

“My heart and the hearts of Austinites are broken this morning. This is a horrible moment for our city and those who protect us,” Mayor Kirk Watson said in a statement. “I’m praying for the family of our fallen officer, for our officer who was shot and in surgery and his family.”

Multiple officers discharged their firearms during the shooting, Henderson said. They are not being identified at this time.

The Austin Police Department will conduct a criminal investigation into the officer-involved shooting in conjunction with the Travis County District Attorney’s Office, as well as an administrative investigation with oversight from the Office of Police Oversight, Henderson said.
 

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