Exclusive: Police bullet to heart kills downtown shooter

AUSTIN -- New exclusive information has been released about the downtown Austin shooting spree that damaged four buildings and ended with the shooter's death early Friday morning.

Law enforcement sources confirmed to KVUE Saturday that a single shot to the heart killed 49-year old Larry Steven McQuilliams. The shot was fired by Austin Police Sgt. Adam Johnson.

KVUE also exclusively learned the Travis County Medical Examiner discovered the words "Let me die" written in black ink across McQuilliams' chest during his autopsy.

When Austin police and the FBI searched McQuilliams' apartment in South Austin, they found what appeared to be funeral clothes laid out on his bed.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said Johnson, a 15-year veteran on the force, was loading up horses early Friday morning when he heard McQuilliams' gunshots, and while holding two horses with one hand, he fired at McQuilliams with his free hand, hitting him in the heart.

On Friday afternoon, Acevedo praised Johnson's quick actions, saying, "For a guy to keep his composure, holding two horses with one hand and taking a one hand shot with the other hand just says a lot about the training and professionalism of our police department."

Police said McQuilliams opened fire on several downtown buildings, using more than 100 rounds of ammo in the early morning hours of Friday, Nov. 28.

Police said the shooting began at 2:22 a.m. when McQuilliams fired rounds at the United States Federal Courthouse on the corner of Fifth and Nueces streets. Officers said he then drove a white van to the Mexican Consulate at Fifth and Baylor streets, where he fired a weapon and used small camping cylinders to try to burn down the building. The fire was put out before any real damage was done.

At 2:32 a.m., police said McQuilliams began firing at APD headquarters at Eighth Street and the Interstate 35 frontage road. One minute later, Johnson encountered the gunman and returned fire, killing him.

As officers approached the body they noticed he was wearing "some type of vest" and had suspicious cylinders inside his van. Officers shut down the surrounding streets and evacuated APD headquarters. A bomb squad robot inspected the cylinders and the vest and cleared the scene several hours later.

More than two dozen propane canisters were later removed by FBI agents from McQuilliam's home at the South Creek Apartments in the Barton Hills neighborhood.

On Friday evening, Chief Acevedo tweeted "No need to be sorry, but when my cops and community are attacked by someone with automatic weapons, I want them to be properly equipped."

In reply to a question about his reference to automatic weapons, the chief wrote, "I think my comments are a tell we will release much more on Monday."

Besides McQuilliams, no one was killed or injured during the shooting spree.


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