4 shot in downtown Austin during final weekend of SXSW festival

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South by Southwest kicks off Friday, March 11 and the Austin Police Department is gearing up for a busy 10 days. ( Credit Photo: CBS Austin)

Four people suffered gunshot wounds in a shooting in downtown Austin early Sunday as the city wrapped the final weekend of the South by Southwest Festival, which returned this year after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19. The shooting occurred around 2 a.m., and all four victims were hospitalized with minor injuries, according to police.

Austin police said Sunday afternoon that a suspect was in custody. They said a preliminary investigation indicated the shooting “started as a disturbance between two groups of people” and it was not a “random act.”

According to the Austin-American Statesman, Austin Police Association President Ken Casaday said prior to the shooting, there had been a total of 31 arrests, and 19 firearms have been seized in downtown Austin.

Last summer, there were several shootings in the same area of East 6th Street, a downtown tourist nightlife staple. In June 2021, a tourist from Michigan was killed and 13 others were shot in Austin’s worst mass shooting in seven years, according to the Statesman. In July 2021, two women were injured in a shooting on East 6h Street, and another person was killed in a third shooting just two weeks later, according to the Statesman.

There were also two separate shootings at the end of the 2019 SXSW festival, one on East 6th Street and another, hours later, on nearby East 7th Street.

Austin police chief Joseph Chacon told CBS Austin earlier this month that there will be a “strong presence” downtown to prevent gun violence during SXSW. But he said some officers would be pulled from their regular assignments to patrol the downtown area.

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