Three people, including a Texas police officer, were killed during a hostage situation in the city of Austin early Saturday morning, according to Interim Police Chief Robin Henderson.
A second officer was wounded and the suspect was also killed.
“This has been a very tragic day, a very tragic incident for all involved,” Henderson said during an emotional press briefing on Saturday.
Officers with the Austin Police Department were called to a home in the 9300 block of Bernoulli Boulevard just before 3 a.m. by a screaming woman who said someone had stabbed her. While she managed to escape her attacker, another two people were still being held captive in the home by the time authorities arrived on the scene, Henderson told reporters.
Officers made an “emergency forced entry” in a bid to rescue the two hostages, Henderson said, but immediately came under fire, forcing them to retreat. A SWAT team was then called in to assist given the suspect was armed and barricaded inside. They again entered the home shortly after 4 a.m., prompting the suspect to unleash another hail of bullets.
Amid the subsequent gunfire exchange, “information was provided over the radio that two officers were shot,” Henderson said. They were both rushed to a nearby hospital, where one officer died from his wounds. The other was in stable condition as of Saturday afternoon and is expected to survive.
Neither of the officers has been identified.
Another two victims were located inside the residence with fatal injuries and pronounced dead, Henderson said. They have not been publicly identified. The suspect, who has not been named, also died on the scene.
The deadly gunfire marked the first time in 10 years an Austin police officer has been shot and killed in the line of duty, according to the Austin-American Statesmen. Austin Mayor Kirk Watson said he was heartbroken by the violence and offered his prayers to those affected by it.
“We rely on brave people who are in harm’s way when they are serving us. We should never lose sight of that. This event jarringly brings home that truth. The danger and potential loss is not theoretical — it’s very, very real,” he said in a statement.
“I thank these courageous public servants and ask that our community hold them close, support them, respect them, and lift them up in prayer,” Watson added. “And let us all come together as we deal with this loss.”