AUSTIN, Texas — Austin's mayor is responding after four people were injured in a shooting on East Sixth Street early Sunday morning.
The Austin Police Department (APD) said the call came in at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 20, the last day of South by Southwest (SXSW). The incident occurred in the 400 block of East Sixth Street – the same block where a mass shooting occurred last June.
Police said the injuries the victims sustained were minor and not expected to be life-threatening. Police also said the shooting started as a disturbance between two groups and was not a random act. A suspect was taken into custody.
Both the APD and Austin-Travis County EMS (ATCEMS) had heightened their presence around Downtown Austin during SXSW. On Sunday afternoon, ATCEMS said that having more staff and lower-scale vehicles in the area helped medics get to the shooting victims faster.
In an interview with KVUE Daybreak on Monday, Austin Mayor Steve Adler also noted that there was "an abundance of officers" on duty over the weekend, including during Sunday morning's incident. He also said that the city council is working with the APD to take "a lot of actions" to make Sixth Street safer and that the City of Austin has been given additional regulatory powers to work with the clubs downtown.
However, Adler said when it comes down to it, the main safety issue is an increase of guns on the streets.
"At the end of the day, what was our most significant challenge, I understand, is we just have so many people carrying guns," Adler said. "Used to be when you had two groups that were fighting – which is, apparently, what happened this weekend, wasn't [a] random shooting, the public generally wasn't in danger – was these two groups, when they, in the past times when they would get into arguments, they would get into fistfights. But now, under state law where they're allowed to carry guns, when a fight like that breaks out, somebody is pulling out a gun."
Adler said he wishes the state's gun laws were more restrictive.
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