A Capital MetroRail train collided with a car Monday morning, injuring two children and killing the 32-year-old male driver.
The accident happened around 7:40am just north of the intersection of Oak Creek Drive and the MoPac Tollway frontage road, just north of MoPac and Parmer. Austin-Travis County EMS reported 124 passengers on the train with no injuries; 3 passengers were in the car, including two children. According to reports, the children were transported to Dell Children's Medical Center with unknown injuries.
Witnesses tell police the car stalled on the tracks; the train collided with the driver's side door. There is no word on the identity of the driver; although people living with the driver told KXAN News he was the single dad of the two boys. In addition to a self-storage facility, the private driveway leads to three homes.
The accident took place at a private crossing, which are not required to have crossing arms or lights and trains are not required to blow their horns. There are 13 such crossings along the MetroRail route.
MetroRail service is disrupted between the Kramer and Lakeline stations; buses will pick up passengers on the disrupted route.
The incident is the third accident involving MetroRail and the first fatality.
This is a breaking story and we will update with more information as it becomes available.
A pair of accidents snarled traffic south of Austin early Monday morning, with the resulting backups extending into the lunch hour.
The first accident, around mile marker 217 on the northern edge of Kyle, involved an 18-wheeler losing its load in the southbound lanes of the highway around 6:00am. Minutes later, a second accident happened around mile marker 220, near the Cabela's sporting goods store in Buda when an 18-wheeler rear-ended a pickup truck. The driver of the pickup was killed; two passengers were taken to an area hospital with unspecified injuries.
Backups extended 7-8 miles back to near Slaughter for much of the morning, with the mainlanes of I-35 completely shut down due to the 18-wheeler cleanup as well as the fatality investigation. Traffic was being diverted to the frontage road at mile marker 223 near the Toll 45 SE interchange. Drivers reported delays of up to 45 minutes trying to get past both accidents.
All lanes of the interstate re-opened around 11:30am Monday morning.
A man was killed Saturday afternoon after being struck while on his bicycle at the intersection of 360 and Westbank Drive.
Verter Ginestra, a 54-year-old Austin entrepreneur, was bicycling along the northbound shoulder when he was struck by 85-year-old Maurice Widener. Ginestra suffered "critical injuries" according to tweets from Austin-Travis County EMS, and died on the scene minutes later. No other injuries were reported by ATCEMS.
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On April 19, 2012, three suspects entered Steiner Ranch Liquors, at 2900 Quinlan Park Rd. It is believed that while the female suspect distracted the clerk, the two males took several bottles of liquor and other alcoholic beverages. The total value of the items taken is believed to be about $3000.00. The suspects were possibly driving a red van. It is unknown if it was a minivan or a full size van.
If you have any information about this case or the above individuals please call Sheriff’s Detective William Gonzalez, at 512-854-2204.
The support for George Zimmerman is becoming more public. The man who is chraged with 2nd degree murder of an unarmed teen claims it was self defense. The Associated Press reports: Zimmerman's attorney says a website created to raise money for his legal defense has raised more than $200,000.
Now that the first round of the 2012 draft -- and what a slow, predictable first round it was – is complete, we owe it to ourselves to review what actually happened. With 10,000 trades (approximately) and a whirlwind of activity, let's sit down for a second, take a deep breath and try to figure out what happened. Because even though an NFL game wasn't played Thursday night, there always must be winners and losers.
Colts/Redskins: This is obvious and oh-so-very easy and, really, perhaps the only truly predictable occurrence Thursday. The Colts selected Stanford's Andrew Luck No. 1, and the Redskins grabbed Baylor's Robert Griffin III at No. 2. And just like that, Indianapolis got its franchise quarterback to replace Peyton Manning and Washington got its franchise quarterback to replace … I don't know … Mark Rypien? Both franchises got wonderful players, and both cities got wonderful citizens. Neither squad could have done any better.
Rick Spielman: When Spielman was first named Vikings general manager, I was skeptical. After all, he had made some solid moves in his player personnel role in Minnesota, but during his short time in Miami, the team was rather unproductive. But he made some wonderful moves Thursday, convincing the Browns to trade up one spot to No. 3 and grabbing a fourth-, a fifth- and seventh-rounder from Cleveland for his trouble. Then, he got the guy he wanted anyway in Matt Kalil. Then, with pick No. 30, Spielman got the last high-level safety in the field in Harrison Smith. A productive day for Minnesota that sets up what could be an awfully productive 2012 draft.
Bruce Irvin: Even Irvin, the outside linebacker from West Virginia, was surprised he was picked by Seattle at No. 15. He later said he was expecting to go late in the first round -- many draft observers had him as a second-round selection -- but the Seahawks made an awfully Pete Carroll-like move, picking Irvin to play opposite Chris Clemons. There are plenty of red flags on Irvin -- he apparently busted up a Jimmy John's restaurant the day after his pro day -- and he's inconsistent on the field. But Carroll obviously liked something in him, and that made Irvin a big-time winner. Not bad for a guy who didn't finish high school.
Steelers: Pittsburgh didn't have to do anything, and the guy who will fit in nicely with the team fell directly into a Steelers uniform. That'd be Stanford guard David DeCastro. Draft analysis Rob Rang had him ranked as the sixth-best prospect overall -- though there was no chance a guard would go that high -- but now that he's in Pittsburgh and playing next to Maurkice Pouncey, that will be a tough wall for a defender to penetrate.
McCoy now will have to battle for the starting quarterback role. (Getty Images)
Mock drafters: With five of the first six teams originally slated to pick in the first round swapping spots and 19 trades overall in the first round, it would have been virtually impossible to mock draft the first round with any kind of success. If I was mock drafter, I would have thrown away my sheet after the first five picks. Somehow, the NFL figured out how to make the draft exciting, so really, this is a win for most observers.
Colt McCoy: The third-year quarterback must have been so excited when he found out the Browns had selected Alabama running back Trent Richardson with the No. 3 pick. “Finally,” I can imagine McCoy saying to himself, “they've given me a big-time offensive weapon. Finally, some of the offensive burden will be taken off me.” Except later in the night, the Browns, at No. 22, selected Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden. Sure, that immediately set off jokes about how old Weeden is (he's 28), but don't think Weeden also won't be the favorite to win the Browns starting job in the fall. A great day quickly turned into a horrid day for McCoy.
LeGarrette Blount: When the Browns grabbed Trent Richardson and prevented the Buccaneers from doing so -- thoughreally, we don't know how serious Tampa Bay was in trading up to Minnesota's No.3 in order to take the Alabama star -- Blount must have been pleased. But then the Buccaneers traded up to No. 31 and grabbed running back Doug Martin. Not only will Martin look to take away Blount's reps, Martin is from Boise State. And we all know the kind of trouble Blount had with Boise State in his college career.
Broncos fans: After their hearts were ripped from the chests (in the form of Denver trading away Tim Tebow), Broncos fans had to watch as the team traded down twice in the first round and didn't make a selection on Thursday. “Well, we didn't get any better yet,” John Elway said afterward, “but we will tomorrow. I can understand the fans being a little bit disappointed. They want to get excited and see who's going to be the next Denver Bronco.” And how will those fans ever get over this lack of a day? Oh yeah, Peyton Manning is still the starting quarterback.
The House of Representatives passed on Thursday a controversial cybersecurity bill that would allow private companies to exchange confidential information with the federal government.
The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which is designed to defend U.S. networks against cyber attack, passed the House 248-162.
The White House threatened to veto the legislation, saying the bill fails to protect privacy and gives a pass to companies that do not secure networks critical to the nation's security.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) dismissed the Administration's privacy concerns on Thursday.
"Listen, the White House believes the government ought to control the Internet, the government ought to set standards and the government ought to take care of everything that's needed for cybersecurity" Boehner said. "They're in a camp all by themselves because whether it's private industry, whether it's other parts of the government, understand that we can't have the government in charge of our Internet."
Under CISPA, private companies could voluntarily share cyber threat information with other companies and the federal government. In turn, the government could then share classified information on cyber threats with private companies. The participation of private companies would be voluntary.
Civil liberty groups have raised concerns. Some contend that the bill gives employers the ability to spy on employees and then share that information with the government in the name of national security.
Industry giants Google, AT&T, and Facebook have expressed support for the bill, which stand to benefit from the increased government oversight.
The Senate has its own cyber security bill sponsored by Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) that would give the administration the power to determine security standards for companies with networks deemed critical to the nation's cyber security. They are expected to take up the legislation next month.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry endorsed likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney Wednesday after campaign aides to Newt Gingrich, whom he endorsed earlier, confirmed he plans to end his bid next week.
Perry, who also ran for the nomination but ended his campaign in January, said in a statement, "Mitt Romney has earned the Republican presidential nomination through hard work, a strong organization, and a disciplined message of restoring America after nearly four years of failed, job-killing policies from President Obama and his administration.
"...Mitt's vision and record of private-sector success will put America back on the path of job creation, economic opportunity and limited government."
Perry endorsed Gingrich after he ended his own presidential bid just days before the South Carolina primary. At the time, he said Gingrich was a "conservative visionary who can transform the future of our country." The former House speaker won South Carolina but his campaign largely faltered after that. He won just one additional primary, his home state of Georgia, and his campaign announced Wednesday that he would suspend his candidacy as early as next week.
AP reports: Duane Eleby, a suspected drug courier, was all set to sneak 10 pounds of cocaine through a security checkpoint at Los Angeles International Airport last February with the help of a former Transportation Security Administration employee and a screener.
Eleby, however, bungled the plan by going to the wrong terminal and was arrested after another TSA screener found the cocaine, which set in motion a series of undercover operations that led to Wednesday's announcement that two former and current TSA employees had been indicted on federal drug trafficking and bribery charges.
A 22-count indictment outlined five incidents where the TSA employees took payments of up to $2,400 to provide drug couriers unfettered access at LAX over a six-month period last year. In all, seven people are facing charges, including Eleby. TSA screeners charged in LA drug trafficking probe
The NFL draft begins Thursday night with the first round, continues Friday night with the second and third rounds, and runs through Saturday, when the final four rounds will be held at Radio City Music Hall. The Indianapolis Colts and St. Louis Rams both went 2-14 last season and had the top two picks, but the Rams traded the second spot to Washington.
While Andrew Luck and Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III will be the stars of the show, this year's draft will be more about defensive players than quarterbacks. In fact, only 3 QB's are expected to be picked in the first round while as many as four cornerbacks could have their names called early.
Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona said the amount of information he is receiving on the Colombian misconduct scandal is lacking and "unacceptable."
"We need to know the facts," McCain said. "We need to know the impact of this potential misconduct....Yet, we are being denied access to the information we need in order to make informed judgments or take needed actions. This is entirely unacceptable."
McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Service Committee, and his colleague Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), who chairs the same committee, received a briefing Wednesday by the Department of Defense on the Colombian incident 12 Department of Defense service members.
The Austin Police Department wants to remind visitors to the Downtown Entertainment District to be mindful of your surroundings and where you park. Thieves are always on the look out for items left in vehicles. APD suggests:
Place items of value in the trunk of the vehicle before you arrive at your destination or take the items with you so your vehicle is not an easy target.
When walking to and from your vehicle be aware of your surroundings.
Do not be preoccupied with electronics such as cell phones or portable music devices.
If possible, never walk alone and stay in groups.
Walk and park in well-lit areas (Some pay to park lots often have attendants at nighttime to help monitor the lot).
By doing all of the above the Austin Police Department hopes to help lower your risk of becoming a victim of a burglary of vehicle or worse, assault or theft.
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Join us Thursday April 26th in Austin as we celebrate the success of real estate in today's market! Not only is this the Biggest Real Estate Networking Eventin Central Texas but we want to congratulate Members Terry and Susan who have been awarded theIndependent Rental Owner of the Year award from the Austin Apartment Association.
Mitt Romney won all five Republican presidential primaries Tuesday night, completing a sweep of contests in New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Delaware.
Romney boasted more than 50 percent of the vote in all five states.
In Connecticut, with 91 percent of the expected votes in, Romney led Ron Paul 67 percent to 13 percent. In Rhode Island, with most of the expected votes counted, Romney led Paul 63 percent to 24 percent.
In Pennsylvania, with nearly all of the votes in, Romney had 58 percent. Rick Santorum, who dropped out of the Republican presidential contest earlier this month, followed with 18 percent of the vote.
Chili's Grill and Bar restaurants held a fundraiser event for the family of fallen Austin police officer Jaime Padron last week, and based on the success, they're teaming up to do it again.
Chili's restaurants in Austin, Buda, Cedar Park, Georgetown, Hutto, and Round Rock will hold a "Give Back Event" next Tuesday, May 1, from 4pm to 11pm. Anyone who mentions Padron will have 10 percent of their bill donated to the fallen officer's family.
The restaurants held a similar event last Wednesday that raised more than $6,500 for Padron's family.
Padron, 40, lost his life in the line of duty early on the morning of April 6 while responding to a call of an intoxicated shoplifter at a North Austin Walmart. The suspect, 24-year old Brandon Montgomery Daniel, is charged with capital murder.
A Tuesday morning accident along SH 71 has claimed the life of a motorcycle driver.
The wreck happened near the intersection of SH 71 and Southwest Parkway in Southwest Austin just before 9:00am. According to details tweeted by Austin-Travis County EMS, paramedics performed CPR on the 30-year old male driver of the motorcycle before pronouncing him dead on the scene. ATCEMS also noted that the driver was not wearing a helmet.
Austin police shot and killed a dog while responding to an aggressive animal call Monday night in East Austin.
APD said that they received a call about two dogs romaing the neighborhood near Canterbury Street around 6:30pm. Two officers responded and found two pit bull terrier mixes that were growling at their owner.
Then, according to the report, one of the dogs came agressively towards the officers. One of the officers swung his flashlight at the dog; then sprayed him with mace. When the dog came at the officer a third time, the officer drew his weapon and fired a shot, killing the animal.
The owner took possession of the other dog after the shooting. APD has not released the name of the owner or the police officer who killed the animal, but says no one was injured.
The incident comes a week and two days after APD officer Thomas Griffin shot and killed a dog on East Fifth, after responding to a domestic disturbance call at the wrong address. That incident is still under review by APD.
Capital Metro awarded two contracts Monday to provide fixed-route and paratransit services, marking a major change in the agency's business model and making the agency compliant with a 2011 state law aimed to force a change in its operating model.
McDonald Transit Associates will assume responsibility for the agency's fixed-route services. The company provides transit services across the country, in such areas as Fort Worth, Lubbock, and Charlotte, North Carolina. Locally, their team brings more than 95 years of combined transit experience.
MV Transportation will assume responsibility for the MetroAccess services. Founded in 1975 in Dallas, the company focuses solely on mobilizing transit dependent seniors and persons with disabilities. MVT has more than 190 contracts with more than 150 government agencies.
Both contracts will take effect in August. CapMetro expects to save $35 million over the next seven years with this new business model. Most current employees of StarTran, the agency's current operator, will transition over to the new contractors, and the agency has provided a number of guarantees to protect employees’ jobs, wages and benefits, including a retirement plan with the new contractors. CapMetro says the transition will be seamless for riders.
Private contractors are nothing new for CapMetro - the agency has used private contractors for University of Texas shuttle services since 1985. The agency has also shifted regular routes to First Transit and Veolia Transportation in recent years. And the agency's MetroRail service, is operated by Herzog Transit Services.
The agency will shift from having more than 1200 workers to being left with about 240 administrative workers. Agency employees will still handle route scheduling, planning, marketing, purchasing, construction, and financial aspects of the operation.
AISD trustees will have another opportunity to hear from the public on the 2012-13 district budget tonight.
Since a preliminary $838.4 million budget was originally presented in February, the district has added funding for starting a new Spanish-language radio show on commercial radio and expanding translation services within the district to include more languages. The projected budget also includes a one-time three percent pay raise for all teachers who haven't had a raise in two years.
District officials said in order to cover a nearly $30 million shortfall between revenue and expenditures, they either need to pull $30 million from reserves or ask for a tax increase.
Any type of tax increase would have to be approved by voters in November. AISD currently has the second lowest tax rate in Central Texas.
The public hearing gets underway tonight at 6:30pm at AISD Headquarters, 1111 West Sixth Street.
Austin police have announced this morning that they've made an arrest in the city's ninth homicide, which happened this weekend.
42-year old Peter Andrew Levay is accused of killing a 60-year old white male with a guitar. Officials said Levay was possibly homeless, but have not confirmed that detail.
The victim, whose other details have not yet been released, was a musician, according to neighbors at his apartment complex. Authorities found the victim dead in his apartment on Tinnin Ford Road in Southeast Austin early Sunday morning, after responding to a check welfare call.
Police say there were obvious signs of trauma on the victim’s body.
A man is in custody after an overnight SWAT standoff with Austin police officers near Barton Creek Square Mall ended peacefully just after midnight Monday morning.
APD spokesman Officer Dennis Farris said the man's family contacted police earlier Sunday, believing the man to be distraught and suicidal. Officers believe the man was armed. The original call came in around 7:30pm Sunday night.
SWAT officers were able to get the man to open the door and he was taken into custody without incident. He was taken into protective custody and will undergo medical evaluation.
On Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 9:15 p.m., North East Area Command patrol officers responded to a family disturbance at 12349 Metric Blvd. #223. The responding officer was initially flagged down by witnesses in the complex and directed to the involved apartment. Upon entry, the patrol officer observed a 29 year old naked male subject lying on the apartment’s floor with what appeared to be severe burns to his body. Also present was an Asian female later identified as the suspect:
Shriya Biman Patel, Asian female, (D. O. B. 09-17-1986)
The responding officer further noticed a strong odor which he believed to be gasoline in the apartment requiring patrol officers to ventilate the apartment by opening additional doors and windows for the continued safety of the victim and responding emergency units.
Follow up by detectives assigned to the Homicide and Domestic Violence Units and investigators with the Austin Fire Department resulted in evidence being located and recovered from the residence. Patel has been charged with:
Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon – Family Violence, a 1st Degree Felony, and bond is set at $500,000.
The victim who is the husband of the suspect remains in critical condition at the Brooke Army Medical Unit in San Antonio, Texas.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the Family Violence Unit at (512) 974-8535.
A judge has granted bail for George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer charged with killing Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, but would not allow his release Friday, citing further discussions needed about the terms, including whether or not he would be allowed out of state.
The Taliban claimed responsibility Friday for downing a Black Hawk helicopter in southern Afghanistan. The helicopter's four crew members, all of them American, are believed to be dead, a U.S. military official said.
The second fatality involving a Capitol Metro bus happened this morning. Its also the second in Capitol Metro's history, after a Ferbruary incident left a pedestrian dead.
The incident happened near the popular college-student housing area, Crossing Place (near Riverside Drive, east of I-35). The victim is described as a 22-year-old Asian Male. He was momentarily revived by EMS, but died later at Brackenridge Hospital.
The Austin Police Department's Auto Theft Interdiction Unit will be providing free VIN etching on vehicles on Thursday, April 19, 2012 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Austin Community College Riverside Campus, 1020 Grove Boulevard.
The Austin Police Department, through the Auto Theft Interdiction Project, provides free VIN number etching for your vehicle. The etching is a permanent theft deterrent device applied to all the windows of your vehicle, and may result in a reduction in automobile insurance.
When the VIN number etchings are applied, thieves will see the etched windows and think twice about stealing your vehicle. As a result of the etching, thieves will have to replace every piece of glass on your vehicle before illegally selling it. This costs the thieves extra time and money, enough to make them move on to easier targets.
The Austin Police Department Region IV Patrol and Support Operations have identified a spike in burglaries of vehicles in and around the area of William Cannon and Mopac. We would like to remind all residents to be vigilant and to prevent themselves from being victims by hiding belongings that are in their vehicles, locking their vehicles when unattended, and taking their valuables and keys with them when they leave their cars. Remember Hide/Lock/Take!
A registered nurse arrested for gunning down and killing a new mother and snatching her 3-day-old baby in the parking lot of a Texas pediatrician's office will face capital murder charges, according to the Montgomery County district attorney.
The newborn, Keegan Schuchardt, was found alive and well six hours after his 28-year-old mother Kayla Marie Golden was killed Tuesday, according to police. The suspect in the killing, Verna Deann McClain, a 30-year-old mother of three, is in police custody.
The Austin Police Department would like to formally address a recent incident during which an APD officer shot and killed a dog while responding to a domestic disturbance call to an incorrect address provided to 9-1-1.
On Saturday, April 14, 2012, Officer Thomas Griffin was dispatched to a domestic disturbance call at 4:42 p.m. and was provided the address of 2613 E. 5th Street. The caller was a witness to a domestic disturbance between a female and an intoxicated male subject. Upon arrival at 4:45 p.m., Officer Griffin approached the property and encountered a male subject, Michael Paxton, who was asked to raise his hands up. Afterward, Mr. Paxton’s dog Cisco, a blue heeler, came toward Officer Griffin from the backyard while barking in an aggressive manner. Officer Griffin fired a single round from his service weapon, striking the dog.
The Austin Police Department will look at the circumstances that led up to this event in their entirety. As is customary following all critical incidents, APD will be reviewing what was done right and what was done wrong so that we may incorporate any lessons learned.
We at the Austin Police Department are saddened by the fact that Mr. Paxton had to witness the death of his dog and our hearts do go out to him. The APD considers itself to be an animal-friendly Department and we understand that his pain is very real.
We do apologize to Mr. Paxton and would like to express our condolences after the loss of his best friend Cisco.
An unfolding investigation shows that 21 Americans representing the U.S. Secret Service and four branches of the military went drinking last Wednesday night and brought prostitutes back to their hotel in Colombia. They were part of a team that was preparing security for President Obama, who attended the Summit of the Americas this past weekend in Cartagena.
CHILI’S® CORDIALLY INVITES YOU TO PADRON CHILDREN FUND NIGHT
supporting the family of fallen SENIOR POLICE OFFICER JAIME PADRON!
When you mention the PADRON CHILDREN FUND, Chili’s will donate 10% of the
sales you bring in directly to the cause. Let us do the cooking and give
support to the family of Senior Police Officer Jaime Padron at the same time!
We look forward to seeing you here! (offer good for in house AND to go orders)
PADRON CHILDREN FUND NIGHT is:
WEDNES DAY, APRIL 18th, 2012
FROM 4PM TO 11PM
Participating Chili’s Locations incl ude:
All Austin Area Locations,also Buda, Georgetown, Hutto, Round Rock, and San Angelo.
Offer only valid on the date and locations stated above. Donations will not be given on sales made prior to or past this date.
The outrage over an Austin police officer shooting and killing a dog over the weekend continues to grow as the story goes viral.
APD spokesman Sgt. David Daniels said officer Thomas Griffin, who has been with APD for 30 months, responded to a 911 call indicating a domestic disturbance in the 2600 block of East Fifth Street on Saturday afternoon around 4:45 p.m.
Michael Paxton was in the backyard of his triplex home at the time, playing frisbee with his dog Cisco. When he went around to the front of the residence to grab something from his truck, he came face to face with Griffin - who had his gun drawn and immediately ordered Paxton to put his hands up. Cisco heard the commotion, ran around to the front of the property, and charged Griffin, who fired a single shot "in self defense", according to APD.
Dashcam video released by APD shows that the entire exchange took place on Paxton's property, and Griffin can be heard yelling "get your hands up" and "get your dog" just moments before a gunshot rang out. Paxton then pleads with Griffin, asking why his dog was just shot. Austin police say the individual who made the disturbance call to 911 gave dispatchers the wrong address; it was actually taking place next door to Paxton's residence.
Listen to the 911 call that triggered this incident:
Audio from Officer Griffin's dash camera of the shooting and immediate aftermath:
More from the dashboard camera:
APD says there is an internal review every time an officer's firearm is discharged. Griffin is still on duty and APD would not answer questions about why a firearm was used instead of a taser. "We are not going to second guess our officer," said Daniels who says officers can use force when they feel physically threatened by an animal. Daniels says there is no specific policy at APD regarding agressive animals.
Paxton's Facebook page, Justice For Cisco, has gathered more than 33,000 likes as of 6am Tuesday morning. APD officials say they received thousands of calls Monday from individuals expressing their outrage over the incident. The story has reached national and international media attention as well.
Updated 4:45pm with details from APD press conference
An Austin man is mourning the loss of his dog following an APD officer-involved shooting that took place on Saturday.
According to published stories from the dog's owner, Michael Paxton, as well as a press conference with Austin Police, officers responded to a domestic disturbance in the 2600 block of East 5th Street on Saturday afternoon before 5pm. Upon arriving at the scene, Officer Thomas Griffin - a 30-month veteran of the department - drew his weapon and proceeded to survey the property. No one was outside the residence responsible for the disturbance call.
Paxton was in the back yard of his home, playing frisbee with his Australian cattle dog Cisco. Paxton came around to the front of the residence and was getting something out of his pickup truck when he was approached by Ofc. Griffin, who ordered him to put his hands up. Shortly afterwards, the dog came around to the front of the house and charged the officer, who fired in "self defense". Paxton claims he pleaded with the officer that the dog would not hurt him; APD says the officer had a "right to defend himself."
In his first major policy initiative since leaving the GOP presidential race in January, Gov. Rick Perry will call on Texas politicians to cut spending, keep taxes steady, and adopt strict limits on government expansion in the future.
Perry's "Texas Budget Compact" will be released at an event in Houston at noon. According to remarks prepared for the event, Perry will say "We are approaching a 2013 legislative session that offers a very clear choice in the direction we’ll be going as a state in the years, and even decades to come."
The initiative puts Perry back into the state's political arena after his bid for the GOP presidential nomination came to an end in South Carolina on January 19.
If you haven't finished your 2011 taxes yet... there's still time.
The official deadline this year is April 17. Officials say the reason for the delay is simple - April 15, the traditional deadline, fell on a Sunday, when post offices are closed. Monday, April 16, is Emancipation Day in Washington, D.C., a holiday marking the freeing of slaves within the District during the Civil War. Federal law prohibits the tax deadline from falling on weekends or holidays.
You can file for an extension if you need more time - but the extension only covers filing your return, not paying your taxes if you owe the government money.
Returns must be postmarked by midnight Tuesday. In Austin, the only Post Office providing a late night postmark is the General Mail Facility at 8225 Cross Park Drive; check the USPS website for details.
This week marks the one year anniversary of the Pinnacle Wildfire, and Austin Fire and the Texas Forest Service want to remind everyone to take some preparations to reduce wildfire risk.
90% of wildfires in Texas are caused by humans, and wildfires are still a threat despite recent rains. Officials also recommend clearing 30 feet of defensible space around your home by removing twigs, brush, and other combustible materials.
On April 17, 2011, a wildfire started by a homeless man's campfire burned 100 acres and several homes in Oak Hill - the first urban wildfire to hit Austin.
Oklahoma prosecutors have filed murder and hate crime charges against two men arrested in an Easter weekend shooting spree that left three people dead and terrorized the city's black community.
Prosecutors said Friday that 19-year-old Jake England and his roommate, 33-year-old Alvin Watts, each are charged with first-degree murder, shooting with intent to kill and malicious harassment, the equivalent of a hate crime under state law.
North Korea's much-anticipated rocket launch ended quickly in an embarrassing failure early Friday, splintering into pieces over the Yellow Sea soon after takeoff and setting off an international search effort for the debris to gain insight into what went wrong and what rocket technology the country has.
Until Thursday, it had been a pretty good week for the Obama campaign.
In the newly-declared battle to frame the general election, the president seemed to be winning. His "Buffett Rule" proposal - designed in part to define presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney as seeking to protect low tax rates for the one percent - was dominating the political news cycle. Meanwhile, the Romney camp was scrambling to find some way to win over women amid polls that showed Romney trailing the president by double-digits among female voters.
George Zimmerman was officially charged with 2nd degree murder, as he appeared for the first time in court this afternoon. The entire procedure lasted less than 2 minutes. Listen to the audio below, as the judge doesn't recognize Zimmerman upon first seeing him.
He'll be formally arraigned in a circuit court on May 29th.
Construction has been completed and testing is under way for red light cameras at the three approaches listed below. The cameras are scheduled to go live on May 9.
·RM 620/Round Rock Avenue at Deep Wood Drive – westbound approach
·IH 35 at RM 620/Round Rock Avenue – northbound approach
·IH 35 at RM 620/Round Rock Avenue – southbound approach
An additional camera at the northbound approach to Red Bud Lane and Forest Creek Drive is expected to go live in late May.
The City’s first red light camera went live Dec. 14 at the southbound approach to Red Bud Lane and Forest Creek Drive. On April 2, five additional approaches on U.S. 79/Palm Valley Boulevard went live.
For red light running incidents that occurred from Dec. 14, 2011, through Feb. 29, the City has issued 290 citations.
Audio of Rick Santorum's press conference, as heard live on the Scott Wilder Show:
(CBS News) Rick Santorum suspended his bid for the presidency on Tuesday, removing the last significant obstacle in Mitt Romney's now all-but-certain march to the Republican presidential nomination.
"We made a decision over the weekend that while this presidential race for us is over for me, and we will suspend our campaign effective today, we are not done fighting," Santorum said at a press conference in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Tuesday afternoon.
Santorum did not endorse Romney in making his announcement Tuesday, though he did vow to fight to defeat President Obama and help Republicans win the Senate in the fall.
In a statement, Romney called Santorum "an able and worthy competitor" and congratulated his often-bitter rival for his campaign.
"He has proven himself to be an important voice in our party and in the nation," said Romney. "We both recognize that what is most important is putting the failures of the last three years behind us and setting America back on the path to prosperity."
John Brabender, a senior Santorum strategist, said Santorum has spoken to Romney about leaving the race and that Romney has requested a meeting in the "near future."
Santorum's campaign had insisted earlier in the day that the former Pennsylvania senator was not leaving the race despite a last-minute decision to cancel his Tuesday morning campaign events. Early Tuesday morning, the campaign announced that Santorum's three-year-old daughter Bella, who suffers from a genetic condition called Trisomy 18, had been released from the hospital after falling ill over the weekend. The campaign said that the morning events had been cancelled so Santorum could help his family "settle in at home."
Santorum said Tuesday afternoon that Bella had recovered after a "difficult weekend," but that the situation "did cause us to think in the role that we have as parents in her life." He said that "this was a time for prayer and thought over this past weekend," and that the decision to suspend the campaign had been made during that period.
On his Facebook page just hours before the announcement, Santorum had posted a message that he was "back on the campaign trail" in his home state. He had been set to participate in a "Faith, Family, and American Values forum" at Lancaster Bible College Tuesday evening.
Santorum Press Secretary Alice Stewart says Santorum held an all-call conference call with his staff at 1:45pm today to alert them to his decision.
An unapologetic social and fiscal conservative, Santorum spent much of the 2012 campaign cycle as an also-ran, toiling in relative obscurity while a succession of contenders - Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich among them - rose to the top of the Republican presidential polls before falling back to earth.
He finally began gaining traction in Iowa shortly before the January 3 caucuses, when social conservatives eager for a candidate to call their own started to coalesce around him. Santorum effectively tied Romney in Iowa before going on to win another ten states and claim the mantle of conservative alternative to the frontrunner.
Yet Romney was able to leverage his organizational and financial advantage over Santorum to build up a delegate lead and keep his rival from victories in states like Ohio and Michigan that would have signaled that Santorum held appeal outside the conservative base. And Santorum was never able to shake the perception that he could not beat President Obama in the fall, with GOP primary voters overwhelmingly citing Romney as the most electable candidate in exit poll after exit poll.
Santorum's better-than-anyone-expected finish amounts to a political resurrection for the two-term senator following his crushing loss in his bid for a third term in 2006, and sets him up as a major figure in the Republican Party representing its sizable social conservative wing. It also reflects lingering distrust of Romney on the part of the GOP's most conservative voters, who have pointed to Romney's relatively-moderate record as Massachusetts governor to suggest Romney does not truly represent them.
"This race was as improbable as any race as you will ever see for president," Santorum said Tuesday, describing his run as a "miracle" that reflected the hopes and dreams of his supporters. He also called on his audience to remember "the values that make us Americans."
"We are going to continue to fight for those voices and we are going to continue to fight for the Americans who stood up and gave us that air under our wings that allowed us to accomplish things that no political expert would have ever expected," he added.
There had been widespread speculation that Santorum would leave the race before Pennsylvania's April 24 primary in order to avoid a possible loss in his home state, which he had deemed must-win. Recent polls in the Keystone state have shown a tight race between Santorum and Romney, with Romney having significantly narrowed what in early March was a double-digit Santorum lead.
Santorum's departure from the race leaves Romney with just two remaining challengers: Gingrich, who has won just two contests thus far, and Ron Paul, who has won none. Gingrich acknowledged that Romney "far and away the most likely" nominee over the weekend in an interview in which he seemed to be reflecting on a failed campaign, while Paul has largely gone quiet on the campaign trail.
Gingrich said in a statement following the announcement that he is "committed to staying in this race all the way to Tampa so that the conservative movement has a real choice." Appearing on Mike Huckabee's radio show, he said he now had the one-on-one fight he had long sought against Romney and challenged Romney to a series of one-on-one debates.
Paul, meanwhile, released a statement saying he "is now the last - and real - conservative alternative to Mitt Romney."
"We plan to continue running hard, secure delegates, and press the fight for limited, constitutional government in Tampa," he said.
CBS News estimates show Romney with 645 of the 1,144 delegates he needs to win the GOP nomination before the nominating convention in Tampa in late August. Santorum is in second with 252 delegates, followed by Gingrich with 128 delegates and Paul with 45 delegates. Santorum's decision to leave the race significantly improves Romney's odds of reaching 1,144 delegates by the time voting wraps up in June, thus avoiding a contested convention. Santorum and Gingrich have said that their last, best hope for the nomination was in keeping Romney below that threshold and then triumphing at the convention. Even before Santorum's announcement, Romney had expected to expand his delegate lead in the four other states holding primaries on April 24 - Connecticut, New York, Delaware, and Rhode Island.
Santorum's decision to "suspend" his campaign, rather than formally end it, allows him to continue raising money to cover campaign debt and to keep his delegates. Under Republican National Committee rules, many of Santorum's bound delegates will remain with the candidate unless they are formally released by the campaign. Santorum sent an email to supporters soliciting donations immediately following his announcement Tuesday, saying "our campaign has debt, and I cannot be free to focus on helping defeat [President Obama] with this burden." He will also likely look to Romney to help him retire his campaign debt.
"I walked out after the Iowa caucus victory and said game on," Santorum said in leaving the campaign trial Tuesday. "I know a lot of folks are going to write, maybe those even at the White House, game over. But this game is a long long long way from over. We are going to continue to go out there and fight to make sure that we defeat President Barack Obama."
With reporting by Caroline Horn, John Dickerson and Rebecca Kaplan.
APD has announced the funeral procession route for slain officer Jaime Padron on Wednesday. Officials ask residents to expect travel delays between 1-4pm Wednesday afternoon as Padron's procession travels through Austin towards his final resting place in San Angelo.
APD asks citizens who wish to pay their respects to Padron along the route to do so as safely as possible.
Padron's funeral service will take place Wednesday morning at 11am at Shoreline Church, located at 15201 North Burnet Road. From there, the funeral procession route will be as follows:
Northbound on Burnet Road to Hwy 45 Frontage Road.
Eastbound Highway 45 Frontage Road to IH-35
Southbound on IH-35 to Ben White Flyover
Westbound Ben White Boulevard to Highway 290 West
Westbound Highway 290 West to State Highway 71 West
Westbound on State Highway 71 West to the intersection of FM 620
Temporary closures will take place along the route as the procession moves towards SH 71. APD's Highway Enforcement Command will continue on to San Angelo, Texas where Officer Padron will be laid to rest. The procession will take SH 71 to Highway 87, travelling through Llano, Brady, Eden and ending in San Angelo.
CAMPO board members gave a preliminary nod Monday night to a loan deal that will put managed lanes on MoPac into the fast lane.
The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization will take a final vote on the deal on June 11. Support for the plan was conditional, however, with board members seeking to exact better terms for the loan to the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, the tolling agency that runs 183-A, the upcoming Manor Expressway, and the future managed lanes on MoPac.
The CTRMA is seeking to build a "managed" lane in each direction on MoPac between Lady Bird Lake and Parmer Lane. Managed lanes charge different toll rates depending on traffic volumes, aiming to keep congestion down and speeds up. The loan proposal suggested by CTRMA would have the authority pay back CAMPO over 22 years at an interest rate of 3 percent. Some CAMPO board members, however, think the rate should be higher and the payback should be a little bit sooner, so that the agency has resources to devote to Interstate 35 as well.
CTRMA officials said that with the new cash from TxDOT, the project could be built for about $200 million and probably be commenced six months earlier than planned.
Capital Metro will officially receive a multi-million dollar grant Tuesday to help fund the agency's MetroRapid bus project.
MetroRapid is a $47.6 million dollar project that will buy 22 60-foot long buses and 18 40-foot long buses. Set to launch in 2014, the project would also involve a dedicated traffic lane in key spots along Lavaca and Guadalupe and new bus stations along the routes, which will run in two corridors - North Lamar-South Congress and North Burnet-South Lamar.
The agency says the enhanced routes will carry more than 21,000 people per day and have about 10 minutes between stops during rush hour.
Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff will officially announce the grant Tuesday morning at 10:30am at Republic Square Park. The agency will have a 60-foot articulated bus available for the public to check out.
Funeral arrangements have been set for Jaime Padron, the fallen Austin police officer who was gunned down in a North Austin Walmart early Friday morning.
Visitation is scheduled for Tuesday April 10, 6-8 p.m. at Cook Walden Funeral Home. Services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday morning at Shoreline Church, with graveside police honors following the service.
People from around the world have been remembering and honoring Padron online through this guest book.
Padron was gunned down inside a North Austin Walmart off I-35 and Parmer Lane while responding to a 911 call about a drunken man trying to steal merchandise. Brandon Montgomery Daniel, 24, is now charged with capital murder.
Austin police are searching for a man who shot and killed another man inside the Palazio Men's Club on Ben White Boulevard, near South Congress Avenue. Police received a 911 call about a shooting just after 1:15 a.m. this morning.
Authorities said the suspect, described as a white man in his 50's, 5-7 to 5-8, was attempting to rob the cashier inside the front door of the strip club when a bystander got into a brief struggle with the suspect. The victim, who has not been identified, was shot and killed. Police ask you to call the homicide tip line at 477-3588 with any information.
While residents of North Texas continue to recover from Tuesday's tornados, Gov. Rick Perry today visited some of the hardest-hit areas, and met with local officials and emergency management personnel who are still assessing the damage.
The Governor gave high marks to the emergency team for its quick response to the crisis, saying no lives were lost as a result.
"We continue to se Texas neighbors helping neighbors and communites coming together in the face of adversity," Gov. Perry said.
Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd echoed the Governor's praise. "Even more incredible than the power of these storms was the rapid response by local officials and emergency responders to protect the residents in their communities," Kidd said.
According to preliminary damage assessments by the American Red Cross, nearly 650 structures were affected by Tuesday's tornados, with 200 completely destroyed and over 100 sustaining major damage. Power has been restored to more than 39,000 North Texans who lost power during the storms.
The Austin Police Department's Auto Theft Interdiction Unit will be providing free VIN etching on vehicles on Thursday, April 5, 2012 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.at the Austin Community College Northridge Campus, 11928 Stonehollow Drive.
The Austin Police Department, through the Auto Theft Interdiction Project, provides free VIN number etching for your vehicle. The etching is a permanent theft deterrent device applied to all the windows of your vehicle, and may result in a 15% reduction in automobile insurance.
When the VIN number etchings are applied, thieves will see the etched windows and think twice about stealing your vehicle. As a result of the etching, thieves will have to replace every piece of glass on your vehicle before illegally selling it. This costs the thieves extra time and money, enough to make them move on to easier targets.
City officials say the number of violent crimes and property crimes fell in 2011, compared to 2010.
A presentation before the City's Public Safety Commission Monday night shows that Austin's crime rate mirrors national trends. In 2011, Austin recorded 3,225 assaults, rapes, robberies, and homicides, which amounts to a 7 percent drop from the year before. The year ended with 25 homicides, down from 37 in 2010. Property crimes, including burglaries and auto theft, dipped 9 percent to 41,416.
APD officials also told the commissioners the department is concerned about the aggressive recruitment of youth into street gangs, which police officials called the next evolution of the drug trade. In the past, Mexican cartels relied on their own sources in the United States to transfer narcotics. Now they are increasingly using Texas prison and street gangs. Such gangs appeal to young people because they give them a sense of belonging, according to APD.
Rain and storms could be possible for the middle of your Tuesday.
A surface front approaching from the Hill Country will interact with an upper level disturbance and ample moisture to generate strong to severe thunderstorms. The main severe threats will be hail up to golf ball size and wind gusts up to 60 mph. Locally heavy rainfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour can also be expected. Mostly sunny skies will prevail out west behind the front.
Five red light cameras went live at three intersections in Round Rock on Monday.
Cameras will catch red light runners along US 79 at intersections with Mays Street, Sunrise Road, and A.W. Grimes Boulevard. The cameras cost $35,000 each to install and cost $4200 per month to operate, but the city insists they're not a money maker - and the city won't be picking up the tab.
"These cameras are in place so we can have safer intersections in Round Rock. Period," Round Rock spokesman Will Hampton told KVUE News. "The installation costs and the ongoing maintenance and operations costs are paid for solely through revenues derived through people paying citations," he said. "Vendors are taking on the risk."
Travis County Sheriff SWAT officers called off a standoff in Del Valle, near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, almost 14 hours after a report of shots fired around 6:15am Monday morning.
The standoff took place near Timber Creek Drive and Pearce Lane in southeast Austin.
A neighbor walking their child to a bus stop called 911 around 6 a.m. after hearing gun fire. Sheriff's deputies arriving on the scene also reported hearing gunfire. Officials on the scene said they spotted movement behind the home and witnessed a person entering the home through a back door.
This story will be updated with more information as it becomes available.
A man in his 20s is in police custody after a shooting this morning in South Austin.
Neighbors at an apartment complex in the 1700 block of Nelms Drive heard someone yelling they had been shot near the roadway around 3:30 Monday morning. According to a police spokesman, the male victim was later found in their apartment inside the complex with a gunshot wound to the lower back.
According to police, that victim underwent surgery and is now in stable condition.
After the shooting, a third man and possible second victim arrived at St. David's South Austin Medical Center with head injuries. Police believe he may be connected to the incident, but did not have any further details.
The suspect also arrived at the same hospital, where police took him into custody.
A 21-year old woman became the first fatality of Austin's boating season after being struck by a boat Sunday afternoon on Lake Travis.
Authorities responded around 5:30pm to a report of a woman struck by a boat near Mansfield Dam. According to Austin-Travis County EMS, the woman's injuries were critical, nearly severing one of her legs. The victim was transported to UMC Brackenridge where she later died.
LCRA officials are investigating the accident. No information has been released on the victim's identity.
A 63-year old man is dead after he fell approximately 70 feet from a cliff near the Pennybacker Bridge on 360.
Emergency crews responded to the scene around 8pm Sunday night. According to reports, the man was viewing the sunset with his family when he slipped and fell to a ledge below the cliff. Austin-Travis County EMS officials said the man survived the fall, and called in STARflight to transport the man to a secondary location so paramedics could render first aid. However, their efforts were unsuccessful and the man died a short time later.
Police identified the victim as 63-year old Philip Short of Denison, Texas. Austin Police were working with the victim's family on the scene.