The man accused of shooting a woman to death in Central East Austin Sunday was arrested Monday afternoon, the Austin Police Department said.
Officials said Waymon "Keith" Eason Sr., 49, was arrested by the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force at the 1030 block of Norwood Park. Eason has a history of domestic altercations with the victim and allegedly threatened her before she was murdered, according to an arrest affidavit.
Tuesday, neighbors told KVUE they still can't believe what happened, and set up a small memorial outside her home.
A family member told KVUE they're all in shock, and trying to figure out what to do.
Beans was a student health assistant working for AISD.
According to the district, they'll have counselors at Blanton and Harris elementary schools to help students and staff through this difficult time.
Austin Police Sergeant De Los Santos said officers interviewed Eason after he was arrested Monday afternoon.
"I can tell you there's regret on his part," said Santos.
Police said they responded to a home in the 5300 block of Wellington Dr., near Bartholomew District Park, just after 4:45 p.m. after receiving multiple reports of a shooting. At the residence, witnesses told police that the victim, identified by police as Ronda Beans an employee at Dell Seton, was standing outside speaking with friends when the suspect, identified in the affidavit as Eason, approached her with a semi-automatic handgun.
Witnesses said Beans was "terrified" and screamed "No! No! No! Don't shoot!" before running and hiding behind a parked vehicle. Police said Eason chased her to the vehicle and shot her multiple times before fleeing in a dark-colored vehicle towards Manor Road.
Beans died at Dell Seton Medical Center about 30 minutes after the shooting.
During the police department's investigation, they said they discovered a history of family disturbances between Beans and Eason. On the first recorded incident, in June 2017, Beans identified Eason as her boyfriend and told police she feared him, claiming Eason had sent her threatening messages and chased her down a street.
Beans contacted police twice at the beginning of January, claiming that she was having on-going issues with Eason and that he had been harassing her with text messages after he moved out of their home.
Police examined the victim's phone and found a message from Eason stating, "Why you doing this?"
According to court records, Eason did not have a protective order against him regarding the victim, but he is a convicted felon and is not legally able to possess a firearm. His criminal history includes prior charges or domestic violence and violating protective orders against him regarding his ex-wife.
Bond has been preset for $1,000,000.
"There's already another woman dead at the hands of apparently an intimate partner,” said Sandra Molinari, the Director of Community Education at SAFE.
According to Molinari, 146 women were killed by their male partner in 2016 in Texas.
"A person can get a protective order, and that can be helpful if the aggressive or abusive partner is actually afraid of involvement with the law, unfortunately, some abusive partners don't care, it's a piece of paper, and a piece of paper will not stop them from getting to them,” said Molinaro.
She said one of the riskiest times in an abusive relationship can be after a victim has left.
"In this case, it sounds like the relationship was over, and that's when the abusive partner feels like they have lost control they'll do anything to regain it,” said Molinari.
She said every situation is different, and at The Safe Alliance, they can help cater a safe plan for each victim’s needs.
"If a person is afraid of their partner for any reason, that's not healthy,” said Molinari.
According to Molinari, early warning signs could include anything that shows power and control, such as wanting control over where someone goes, who your partner sees, what they wear, their finances, or humiliation.
If your friend or family member says he or she is in an abusive relationship, Molinari said it’s important to believe them and ask open-ended questions.
For example: “How are you feeling about that?” “Do you know what you want to do?” “Can I help you in any way?”
If you need help, contact SAFE here:
Call: 512.267.SAFE (7233)
Austin ISD released this statement Tuesday:
"Austin ISD is committed to supporting students and staff during this difficult time. Additional counselors have been provided at Blanton and Harris elementary schools to help individuals who may need support following the death of Rhonda Bean. AISD is also emphasizing staff support through the district's Employee Assistance Program, which provides professional counseling 24 hours each day. The district partners with Vida Clinic to provide mental health services where sustained support will be provided for individual, family, and group therapy for students and staff. Vida Clinic can be reached at 512-414-7820."
Check back for updates.