Acevedo on shooting: 'Amazed,' thankful no officers killed by gunfire

APD identify man killed by police

AUSTIN - The man who was shot after firing a gun at police officers at a Southwest Austin apartment complex has been identified. 

Morgan Wayne Crocker, 34, died after he was shot by police officers.

According to the Austin Police Department, someone at the Sedona Springs Apartment Complex in the 4200 block of Monterey Oaks Boulevard near MoPac and U.S. 290 called 911 just before 10:30 p.m. Wednesday to report a suspicious person with a backpack walking around the parking lot. The caller said the man was looking into vehicles and possibly breaking into them. 

"After spending approximately an hour in the apartment complex trying to locate a suspect, identify if there were any vehicles broken into, they finally cleared the call, unable to locate that suspect," said Austin Police Chief of Staff Brian Manley. 

Twenty-two minutes later, police say the same person called 911 again, saying they saw the same man doing the same thing. 

"This person ended up running from the officer and there was a foot chase that took place through the apartment complex," Manley said. "During the foot chase the officer broadcast the direction, a supervisor came up on the radio, we were calling for air support, canine support, again, trying to bring this person into custody."

"Our officer ended up catching up with this individual in the back of the apartment complex. This individual was non-compliant and our officer ended up deploying less lethal force through the use of a taser."

A man who lives in the apartment complex started to record what happened from there. In the video, Crocker is visible lying on the ground as officers give him commands. 

They yelled several times for him to lie on his stomach and put his arms to the side. Instead, Crocker is seen on the video rolling over and firing six shots in three seconds at the officers. They scattered and two officers, one who has been with the department for 23 years and the other two years, fire back, hitting the man. 

The officers continue giving Crocker commands. 

"Hey we're trying to get you medical attention but we can't do it unless you do what we're telling you. Get on your stomach," one officer told Crocker in the video. 

Officers were able to get Crocker away from the gun and started administering first aid. EMS arrived and transported him to South Austin Hospital where he died. 

The two officers who shot Crocker were identified as Bernardo Ramirez and Brett Fitz. Both were placed on paid administrative leave, which is department protocol. Ramirez has been with APD for 23 years and eight months and Fitz has been with APD for two years and nine months. Both are assigned to Southeast/Southwest patrol.

Chief Manley said the officer's in-car cameras did not capture video of the entire event, but did record audio. The police are also reviewing the video recorded by the man who lives in the complex. 

"Having watched that cell phone, I stand here tonight saying that we are fortunate that we didn't lose an officer tonight," Manley said. "When he rolled over and produced that weapon and fired at our officers, they were in very close proximity and they did an outstanding job of reacting to the deadly force that was put their way. It's unfortunate that we lost a life tonight, that this individual chose to, to attempt to take an officer's life and as always we try to preserve life and our hearts go out to the families of this individual once we have him identified, but I say having watched that video, we're fortunate we're not standing before you tonight talking about our officers being seriously injured or killed."

"I've spoken to each officer and they're absolutely shaken up. I think they realize how fortunate they are based on the threat that they faced tonight but also they know that they've taken a life and that's not anything any of our officers ever want to be involved in," Manley added. 

Residents who spoke to KVUE said they generally feel safe at the apartment complex, but said they worry about the gates being open for extended periods of time. Representatives of the apartment complex could not be reached for comment.

APD Chief Art Acevedo is traveling to Washington on business but told KVUE he has "been thoroughly briefed and I am amazed and thankful neither one of our officers was struck and killed by gunfire."

Acevedo compared the shooting to an incident in April when Officer Armando Perez was shot and injured by a person along West 6th Street. That man had a gun in his hands and fired after he was on the ground. Acevedo said cases such as these illustrate why officers are so adamant in demanding suspects show their hands.

KVUE News learned Crocker had a lengthy criminal record. This past February he was arrested for public intoxication and possession of a controlled substance. Court records show that as he was being transported to the jail he threatened a deputy, adding a retaliation charge. Once at the jail, he head butted an officer in the face which landed him an assault on a public servant charge. In August, he was charged with four family violence crimes after one incident. He's also been charged for burglary of a habitation and had several drug, assault and DWI charges. 

Thursday morning update from reporter Cori Coffin:

(© 2016 KVUE)


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