By Peter Helman
Last year, SXSW ended with gunshots. This year, a man has been shot in Austin just as the festival is getting underway. The Austin Chronicle reports that Michael Sanders, who plays lead guitar for indie rock quartet Löwin, was shot while walking home from A Giant Dog’s performance at Hotel Vegas on Friday night. The concert was not an official SXSW event but rather a party adjacent to the festival sponsored by Do512 and Car2Go.
According to Sanders, three masked men armed with handguns and an AR-15 rifle jumped out of the bushes near his house, pushed him up against a car, and stole his money and cell phone. As the robbers fled to their car, Sanders walked in the same direction towards his house, and one of them turned around and fired at him, catching him in the shoulder. Sanders managed to run to his house and hit the security alarm, and he used one of his neighbors’ phones to call the police.
“It wasn’t as scary as it was matter of fact and surreal,” Sanders tells The Austin Chronicle. “My first thought to myself was ‘Oh my god, he shot me.’ My second thought was realizing that it didn’t hurt as bad as I would have expected. As far as getting shot goes, it was a very clean shooting. I’m fortunate… because they were trying to kill me.”
“Given the timing of the incident and the location in a neighborhood near the Eastside entertainment district that’s popular for short-term rentals during SXSW,” the paper notes, “Sanders believes the robbers were preying on people coming home from concerts.”
As far as Sanders knows, the Austin Police Department has not yet made any arrests. Sanders’ band Löwin has three non-SXSW shows booked for the coming week, but unfortunately, he won’t be able to play.
The band shared this message to Facebook along with the above photo:
Hi folks, our brother Michael got shot Friday night walking home from a show. He is totally on the mend and was blessed with “best case scenario” conditions as far as being shot goes. However, we’d like to advise all of you that are SXSW-ing to be careful, alert, and walk in groups at the end of the night. Love you all. Be safe. ✌🏼🙌🏼