AUSTIN - Police believe the man who allegedly shot and killed a 30-year-old woman at an apartment complex the day after Christmas was trying to rob her before she started screaming.
Xavier Oneal Lewis, 19, has been named as the suspect in Ebony Michelle Sheppard's murder. Lewis has also been charged in connection to several robberies which took place on Christmas Day, according to court documents. Police said that during the alleged robberies and murder, the suspect was out on bond for a pending felony in connection to an aggravated robbery that took place in 2016, and there was a Global Positioning System (GPS) monitoring device on him. Police said a shooting transpired during the 2016 robbery.
On Dec. 26, Austin police said they were called to the Travis Station Apartments near U.S. 183, Ed Bluestein Boulevard and Loyola Lane, for a reported shooting around 11:45 p.m. Austin-Travis County EMS said they found a woman, identified by police as Sheppard, with obvious trauma to her body. Medics took her to Dell Seton Medical Center where she was pronounced deceased around 12:30 a.m. Dec. 27, police said.
During an investigation at the scene of the murder, police found a 380 caliber casing. Police said at a Dec. 29 press conference that they do not believe Lewis knew Sheppard. Police said they believe that Lewis saw her walking, he "figured he would rob her, she started screaming and he shot her," according to police at the press conference.
On Dec. 25 at around 9:45 p.m., Lewis allegedly approached four victims at the Dottie Jordan Park in East Austin, pointed a semi-automatic pistol at them and demanded their property, police said. According to an affidavit, after the four victims gave up their cell phones and wallets, Lewis allegedly told them they had five seconds to run away or he would start shooting. All four victims began running away as Lewis allegedly counted down from five, however police said he fired multiple shots at the victims as they ran. The shooting injured one victim's foot, and another victim was injured below his knee.
At 10:03 p.m. that night, just 18 minutes after the first robbery, police found that one of the victim's stolen credit cards had been used at a convenience store about one mile away.
According to the affidavit, at 10:22 p.m., Lewis allegedly stole a different victim's vehicle and cellphone at gunpoint at a central-east Austin apartment complex.
Police said at a press conference Dec. 29 that all the aggravated robbery victims are in fair condition.
At that press conference, police said that police responded to a separate reported disturbance at the same apartment complex of the murder. At the scene of the disturbance -- which police said was a completely separate incident and was not at all related to the murder -- police said a 380 caliber gun was seized. Police believe the gun matched the ammunition that was found at the scene of the murder and the aggravated robberies. After officers spoke with people involved with the unrelated disturbance, police said at the press conference that a "subject by the name of Xavier Lewis came into focus."
The Lone Star Fugitive Task Force took Lewis into custody on Dec. 28 in Pflugerville without incident, Austin police said. At police headquarters, Austin police said that Lewis confessed to the murder and aggravated robberies.
Data from Lewis' GPS device showed that he was at the scene of the murder and the aggravated robberies, according to police.
According to police, Lewis has been charged with one count of capital murder and six counts of aggravated robbery with his total bond set at nearly $2 million. He is currently in the Travis County Jail.
Sheppard's family set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for her burial and provide monetary support for her 4-year-old son. You can go here to donate.
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