AUSTIN — Editor's note: Austin Police Department Interim Chief Brian Manley stated in a press conference that the victim was 18 years old. APD has since contacted KVUE to correct the victim's age. Police said she was 20 years old.
AUSTIN -- A 20-year-old woman was shot and killed by a police officer Thursday after she allegedly broke into a home in southeast Austin, chased the occupants around their neighborhood with a knife, and ignored the responding police officers' request to drop her weapon, according to Interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley.
On Monday, police identified the woman as Leslie Yolanda Salazar, and the officer as Thomas Brown. Brown has been with the department for three years and is currently assigned to Central East/South Central Patrol. He has been placed on administrative leave per standard protocol.
Police said they received a call that a person was trying to break into a home in the 7300 block of South Glenn Street near Burleson Road at 2:23 a.m. Thursday. Officials said the caller claimed that she knew who the suspect was and gave authorities the woman's name. While on the phone with authorities, the caller said the suspect had broken into the home.
At some point, the caller's phone line dropped, and the person called the police again. In the second phone call, the caller told authorities that the suspect, who she identified as her cousin, was chasing her and a few others around the neighborhood with a knife. The caller said she and the other people were hiding and that she feared that the suspect would attack them with a knife if she found them.
The caller told police she believed the suspect was chasing her and the others around because the suspect was intoxicated, and the suspect's reasoning for confronting the household might have been related to something that happened in the past. The caller said the suspect bit and scratched her and two other women when they tried to "contain" her.
While talking to the caller, police said they received word that the suspect had returned back to the home on South Glenn Street.
Interim Chief Brian Manley said officers at the scene decided to go to the home for a welfare check, and all of their actions at the home were captured on their body cameras. Manley said a person answered the door, and the officers went inside and identified themselves.
Manley said while the officers were walking toward the kitchen, the suspect came from around a corner in the home.
"The officers immediately gave a command -- what sounds like: 'Drop the knife!'" Manley said as he explained what he saw on the body camera footage.
Manley said that the woman continued to walk in the officers' direction with a knife, and one officer fired his weapon at the suspect. Afterward, Manley said officers continued to tell the woman to drop the knife while she was on the ground, but she was apparently unresponsive. Police then proceeded to walk over to the woman and perform CPR, according to Manley.
The suspect was pronounced deceased at the scene.
"At the end of the day, this appears to be a female who lost her life today, and that is a tragic incident for this community, and it is a tragic incident for our department," Manley said. "This is not a situation that any officer wants to find themselves in."
Neighbors are trying to understand why she was shot dead.
"A poor little girl got murdered on my street, you know, and I say murdered," said Scott Macgregor, A neighbor. "They could have tazed her. They could have done something else other than shoot her, you know ... this kind of stuff needs to stop -- the trigger happiness. It’s a little tiring.”
As for the home, those who live nearby said they saw a lot of strange activity.
“Every night, it was like two or three in the morning and I used to hear yelling, a car honking, and like a lot of movement going in-and-out of the house," said Monica Lopes, a neighbor.
This case will be administratively investigated by the police department's Internal Affairs Unit and monitored by the Office of the Police Monitor. A concurrent investigation will be made by the APD's Special Investigation Unit along with the Travis County District Attorney's Office.
KVUE will update this page as more information is released.