A man has been charged after admitting to several Austin-area robberies, the Austin Police Department said, in one of which a second suspect was accused of holding a gun to the head of a three-year-old child.
The APD said officers responded to a 911 call on Wednesday of a home invasion robbery at the Copper Mill apartments on 10000 North Lamar Blvd. The victims, two females and a three-year-old child, reported that two suspects had entered their home. One was reported to be wearing black pants, a black short-sleeved shirt, a red bandana covering his face and was brandishing a long-barrel revolver. He was later identified as 26-year-old Jawhari Smith.
The second suspect was described as wearing black pants, a black long-sleeved shirt, a mask and was displaying a black handgun. According to victim reports, police said this suspect pointed the gun at the woman's chest, backed her into a room, pushed her to the ground and kicked her, held a gun to her three-year-old son and stole her purse.
At this point, a third victim reported she heard screams and came out of her room to investigate when she ran into Smith who was guarding the door. She said he pointed his revolver at her and backed her into her bedroom and demanded money, after which both suspects fled the scene in an unknown direction.
A few hours later, police said they received an emergency call about a reported robbery at the Matamoras Tacos food trailer. Two victims reported they were robbed at gunpoint by a man who matched Smith's description from the prior reported robbery.
Upon viewing surveillance video, police observed the suspect entering the trailer, pointed a revolver at the victims, demanded the cash drawer, took it and left. Police said that he began to run through the parking lot, tripped, dropped the gun on the ground and later pointed it at a witness before escaping in a silver Chevy Impala driven by another suspect.
Police also detailed four reported robberies at the Canyon Trails Apartment complex in the span of a few minutes on Sept. 13 in which shots were fired, though no injuries were reported. The descriptions of the suspect in these cases mirrored those of Smith mentioned in the above reports, police said.
Recorded on camera, one victim at the apartment complex said he was sitting in his truck waiting to pick up a coworker when the suspect approached his driver's side window, pointed the revolver at his head and demanded his wallet and phone. He said that while he was complying, his coworker approached the vehicle, temporarily distracting the suspect and allowing the driver to strike the suspect in the head with a metal anti-theft device from inside his vehicle.
The driver then exited the vehicle as the suspect was recovering from the blow but the suspect pointed his revolver at him and fired. The victim was able to duck in time that the bullet went just over his head and the suspect fled on foot chasing the victim's coworker.
Separate victims at the complex were able to record the suspect's license plate number, which was found on a silver Impala escaping the scene. Police said that information led them to a woman. Once finding the vehicle at a Motel 6, police discovered that the owner of the vehicle had checked in along with Smith. Upon reviewing surveillance video from motel staff to confirm reports of what the suspect looked like, police obtained search warrants and surrounded the hotel room.
While conducting the search, police said Smith was arrested for an outstanding misdemeanor warrant for driving with an invalid license and the woman was detained. Officers said a backpack containing black pants, a black long-sleeved shirt and black gloves, was found along with a long-barrel revolver matching that seen in the Matamoras Tacos surveillance video which was hidden in the toilet tank wrapped in a red bandana. One of the victim's iPhones was also found, police said.
According to police, the woman reported that she had not been involved in any of the reported robberies and detailed her suspicions that he had been up to something illegal due to his strange behavior recently.
Upon questioning Smith, police said the suspect remained quiet for a long time but eventually gave a complete and detailed confession to all the robberies mentioned above, including information on the accomplice he worked with at the Copper Mill apartments and Matamoras Tacos robbery, though no other information on him could be provided because police said the investigation is ongoing.
According to public Travis County Sheriff's records, Smith has been charged with seven counts of aggravated robbery as of Monday evening.