Gunman in Texas kills one, injures four others

WASHINGTON • At least one person was killed and four others wounded in a shooting in Austin, Texas, early yesterday, with police warning that the shooter was still at large.

The incident began shortly after 2.15am (12.15pm Singapore time) in a busy downtown area filled with bars and nightclubs, with police warning people on Twitter to steer clear of the area due to an "active shooter".

"Active shooter incident downtown, multiple victims. Stay away from downtown," Austin police tweeted.

The gunman killed a woman in her 20s and wounded three other women, who were transported to a local hospital with injuries that are serious but not life-threatening, Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services (ATCEMS) spokesman Mike Benavides told reporters. A fifth victim, a man, refused aid, the ATCEMS said.

Police later confirmed there had been a second, separate shooting incident in the area, which took place just minutes later, although only the gunman was injured after bystanders tackled him. There were no reports of anyone being struck by bullets in that incident.

Police initially believed the two shootings were related, but that was not the case, Austin Police chief of staff Brian Manley said.

"From everything we can tell at this point through the initial investigation, these are two unrelated incidents," Mr Manley told reporters at a pre-dawn press conference broadcast via Periscope.

The unidentified shooter in the first incident, believed to be a Caucasian or light-skinned Hispanic male in his 20s, was still at large, Mr Manley said.

After receiving first reports of the incident at 2.17am, officers arrived in the busy downtown area where they found "a very chaotic scene". Mr Manley added.

He described people emerging from clubs and bars running in all directions at the sound of gunfire, as police officers on patrol rushed to the scene.

There appeared to have been a disturbance during which an individual pulled out a gun and fired into a crowd of pedestrians, he said.

It was unclear if the shooters knew any of their victims, with Mr Manley saying it was part of the ongoing investigation.

He called for any witnesses with video footage or pictures to share their files with police.

Mr Sam Vedamanikam, 26, told the Austin American-Statesman newspaper that he and several friends were leaving a dance club and heading to their car when they heard four or five gunshots.

"There were just lots of people on Sixth Street and I see all of them jump towards the ground," Mr Vedamanikam told the newspaper. "A lot of people were screaming."

Witness Dorian Santiago described scenes of panic as people scrambled for safety when gunshots rang out.

"We heard five shots then, people started running like crazy," Mr Santiago told Sky News.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2016, with the headline 'Gunman in Texas kills one, injures four others'. Print Edition | Subscribe