AUSTIN (Talk1370.com) -- Authorities are closing in on what they believe are two suspects in a mass shooting event in Austin's Sixth Street entertainment district early Saturday morning.
APD interim chief Joseph Chacon, speaking early Saturday afternoon at police headquarters, said the number of victims had increased by one to 14, after an additional victim self-transported himself to a local hospital.
Two of the victims remain hospitalized in critical condition, Chacon said, while the other 12 are in stable condition.
Police believe nearly all of the victims are innocent bystanders. Chacon said detectives are still reviewing available video footage to determine if any of the victims have a connection to the suspects, who police are actively working to take into custody. Based on the evidence, they've identified two male suspects they believe are connected to the shooting.
"This does appear to be an isolated incident between two parties," said Chacon.
Five full shifts of officers were working in the downtown area Friday night, Chacon said, which is not unusual. He highlighted ongoing staffing issues within the department, saying that as crowds ramp back up to pre-pandemic levels, the need for officers is growing - and that offering overtime hours to the existing force isn't a long-term solution with a growing number of officer vacancies that can't be filled.
Chacon said state troopers from the Texas Department of Public Safety will assist with downtown security Saturday night, and he'll evaluate the need for them to continue assisting moving forward.
Just last week, APD began its first cadet class in nearly two years, after Austin City Council voted to cancel two cadet classes as a part of budget cuts made to the department last summer. Officials say those 100 recruits won't hit the streets until next year.
Chacon said detectives are reviewing video footage from a number of sources, including officer body-worn cameras, downtown HALO cameras, and surveillance video from businesses along Sixth Street. In addition to APD, Texas DPS, the FBI, and the ATF are all assisting with the investigation.
Chacon again credited the quick action of APD officers in preventing any fatalities. "Our officers were amazing - in the actions that they took, and the speed with which they took them," Chacon said, highlighting the difficulty for EMS vehicles to reach the scene through the crowds. Officers applied tourniquets and other first aid to save some of the victims, and transported six of the victims to nearby hospitals in their own patrol vehicles.
Despite increased crowds from the annual Republic of Texas Rally, Chacon said there's no indication the two events are connected.