AUSTIN -- The Austin Police Department has identified an officer who was shot and killed Friday morning at the Wal-Mart store on Parmer Lane and Interstate 35. The man accused of shooting him is in custody.
APD says the officer killed was Senior Officer Jaime Padron, 40.
The gunman has been identified as Brandon Montgomery Daniel. The 24-year-old was booked into the Travis County Jail Friday on a capital murder charge.
Investigators say around 2:20 a.m. a 911 call came in reporting a drunk person, Daniel, at the Walmart. Daniel was reportedly starting fights. While Officer Padron was on the way, the call was updated to a possible theft. Employees told police Daniel was trying to hide merchandise in a backpack.
Officer Padron responded to the call. When he went inside the store, Daniel immediately started a fight and within seconds pulled out a semi-automatic pistol fired twice. One bullet stopped at a bulletproof vest, the other hit Padron in the neck.
Shortly before he died, however, Padron did call for backup. Store employees held the gunman down until police arrived to arrest him.
“I am heartened by the fact that two brave souls immediately started taking action when they saw our officer shot unprovoked, and actually tackled the suspect to the ground before he was able to hurt someone else,” Acevedo said. "It gives us a great sense of pride knowing that we serve people in this community that would not hesitate to put their lives on the line for this officer who gave their life for them."
According to the affidavit, the employees who stepped in were Lincoln LeMere, an overnight shift manager, and Archie Wayne Jordy, an Assistant Manager.
Shoppers at the store say they went on lockdown. Some huddled in a corner.
“I started crying because I thought it could have been me,” said shopper Sapna Sharma with tears in her eyes.
A spokesperson for Walmart said they are sharing surveillance video with police.
The arrest affidavit states that Daniel admitted he shot Officer Padron, and knew he had killed him.
Padron was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and served with the Austin Police Department for three years. Before joining APD he worked for the police department at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.
“He was an outstanding cop, and it always seems, we're not perfect, but it seems when we lose an officer we lose the best of the best,” said Chief Acevedo.
Police say Padron leaves behind two daughters, ages 10 and six.
“A tough day for us all. We lost a family member,” acknowledged Austin City Manager Marc Ott.
“What makes our jobs deadly is that there is no such thing as routine,” said Acevedo. “At any moment you can go from being stopped at a red light to being engaged in a fight for your life.”
The police chief says surveillance video captured the incident and will strenthen the case against Daniel. The 24 year old remains in Travis County Jail, charged with capital murder with no bond.
Before APD released Padron's name, a San Angelo newspaper reported that Padron was a former San Angelo police officer. According to the San Angelo Standard Times, San Angelo police identified Padron and said all of his family had been notified as of 9:45 a.m. Friday.
The paper reports San Angelo Police Chief Tim Vasquez said Padron had worked with San Angelo's department for several years before going to Austin.
The last time an Austin police officer died in the line of duty was nearly eight years ago. Officer Amy Donovan died in 2004 when she was accidentally run over by a fellow officer's patrol car. Donovan was the 20th officer killed on the job in the history of the department.
Chief Art Acevedo spoke to the media Friday morning. Click here to see the entire interview.