6 killed in Texas shootings in Austin, San Antonio; suspect in custody

6 killed in Texas shootings in Austin, San Antonio; suspect in custody

Six people were killed and three others, including two police officers, were wounded in attacks Tuesday in Austin and San Antonio, Texas, authorities said. A suspect, identified as 34-year-old Shane James, was being held on capital murder charges, authorities said Wednesday.

Two of the victims who were killed at a home in San Antonio are believed to be the suspect's parents, authorities said Wednesday.

The suspect was charged in Travis County with capital murder, with more charges to come, Interim Austin Police Chief Robin Henderson said. Authorities in Bexar County, which includes San Antonio, are waiting to bring charges for either murder or capital murder for the killings there, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said Wednesday.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement that the suspect "must never see the light of day again."

"Texans grieve for the loved ones of the six Texans who were murdered by a hardened criminal," Abbott said. "... The State of Texas will provide all resources necessary to impose the full weight of law on this criminal for his despicable crimes."

The suspect was in the Army for two years, an Army spokesperson confirmed to CBS News. He was an infantry officer from February 2013 to August 2015, when he left the Army as a first lieutenant. The suspect had not been deployed overseas. Salazar said Wednesday there had been a "domestic violence incident of some sort" that had "something to do with" why he left the military, but did not elaborate on the details.

Tuesday's rampage was a complicated series of events that spanned about eight hours. The first killings are believed to have occurred in San Antonio.

Authorities in Bexar County said two people were found dead Tuesday in a home in San Antonio. Those victims are believed to be Phyllis James, 55, and Shane James Sr., 56. the parents of the suspect.

Salazar said his office received a call from Austin authorities around 7:45 p.m. Tuesday telling them a suspect was in custody and asking them to check the home where the bodies were eventually found. When deputies went to the house, they saw water coming from under the door and forced their way inside.

Salazar said at a late-night briefing that the bodies were found in a small room against a door and had likely been moved. He described the scene as "pretty grisly."

Salazar said Wednesday that the parents were last spoken to by a sibling of the suspect around 10 p.m. Monday. Around 9 a.m. the next morning, a neighbor woke up and saw that James Sr.'s car wasn't in the driveway, which he found odd. He later told police he assumed the son had taken the car.

Interim Austin Police Chief Robin Henderson said at a news conference early Wednesday that officers responding to a burglary call found a man in a home's backyard Tuesday evening. According to Henderson, they exchanged fire and one officer suffered non-life-threatening wounds and was taken to a hospital. The man fled but later crashed the vehicle he was driving and was taken into custody. He didn't have any gunshot wounds, Henderson said.

Two apparent homicide victims were found in the home.

Just before noon, Austin police got a number of calls about what turned out to be a double homicide of a man and woman in another house, Henderson said. They were later identified as Emmanuel Pop Ba, 32, and Sabrina Rahman, 24. Pop Ba was pronounced dead at the scene while Rahman was taken to a local hospital, where she died, Austin police said Wednesday night.

About an hour earlier, an Austin Independent School District police officer was shot, Henderson said. CBS Austin affiliate KEYE-TV reports that he was hit in a leg while patrolling at Northeast Early College High School. Wednesday classes there were canceled.

And just before 5 p.m., a 39-year-old bicyclist described by police as a White male was shot, Henderson said. His injuries weren't life-threatening.

Henderson said earlier Tuesday that investigators concluded that all the crimes were connected following the last incident.

Salazar also noted Wednesday that shell casings found in the suspect's parents' San Antonio home match some of the shell casings found at the crime scenes in Austin. He said he didn't know how many guns the suspect was eventually caught with, but he believed one came from the home in San Antonio, although they didn't know who owned it as of Wednesday afternoon.

Salazar said the suspect has a sibling who lives in Austin, but authorities couldn't be sure that was the reason he went there. He said he was not aware of any "rhyme or reason" to how he chose his victims in Austin.

Austin police said in a statement Wednesday night that they did not alert the public about the suspect sooner because it was not clear initially that the separate shootings were linked. Police said they were investigating the incident at the school when they got the call about the double homicide of Pop Ba and Rahman.

"At that point in time, we focused on the new shooting incident as we would any normal homicide," police said. They noted there were no immediate indications the two shootings were linked.

"As our investigators continued to review evidence from both scenes, it was determined that the two incidents could potentially be linked. As the team continued to work to get a description, photos and videos together to share, the final incident occurred," police said. "An important thing to note, these incidents did not take place in one specific area of Austin, and the initial evidence we had did not show any similarities."

Law enforcement in Bexar County had previously arrested the suspect in January 2022 for misdemeanor assault, allegedly against his parents and a sibling. The original terms of his bond stated he was to have no contact with his family, but that was later changed, presumably at the request of the family members themselves — who said the suspect suffered from mental health problems — to only "no harmful contact," Salazar said Wednesday.

He was released from jail on March 7, 2022, and cut off his ankle monitor the next day. Warrants were then issued for his arrest on the misdemeanor charges, Salazar said.

Deputies were then called to the San Antonio home in August of this year in response to a mental health episode, Salazar said. When they arrived, the son was barricaded in his room with the door locked. The father managed to force the door open slightly, but it was blocked by the bed, which the son was also lying on. Deputies tried to get the suspect to come out, but he became belligerent and got up from the bed to stand behind the door.

The deputies eventually left, but told the father to call them if the son left the room so that they could arrest him. That call never came, Salazar said.

The district attorney noted that even if the son had been arrested at the time, he likely would have already been out of jail by the time of Tuesday's shootings.

In a statement marking the Texas shootings and a shooting Wednesday at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, President Biden said, "Jill and I join citizens across our nation in praying for the families of our fallen, and for those who were injured during these latest acts of senseless violence."

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