Suspect in custody after shooting near SXSW in downtown Austin
A suspect is in custody after four people were shot in downtown Austin near the city's annual SXSW festival early Sunday.
The Austin Police Department and Austin-Travis County EMS tweeted that four victims were transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries after they were shot near East 6th Street and Neches Street at around 2 a.m. local time on Sunday. A suspect was taken into custody shortly before 5 a.m.
When reached for comment, Austin PD told EW the shooting began as a disturbance between two groups of people near the Toulouse Bar area, noting it was not festival-related.
In 2019, before the festival went virtual in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, three separate shootings also occurred in Austin's entertainment district as that year's SXSW drew to a close. Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said at the time that none of the shootings appeared to be related, pledging to enact more security in the area.
"We are not going to let our entertainment district be turned into a place where shootings become the common occurrence," Manley said, per Associated Press. At this year's festival celebrating film, music, and tech industries — the first in-person return since 2019 — Austin PD bulked up police presence in the downtown area, according to Fox 7 Austin.
"I know they made over 30 arrests and arrested over 19 people with handguns on their persons," Ken Casaday, president of the Austin Police Association, told Fox 7 Austin. "So it was a very busy night leading up to the shooting."
South by Southwest, abbreviated as SXSW, is an annual weeklong festival that combines entertainment and technology, offering film and TV premieres, music and comedy showcases, conferences, and more. Some of this year's film and TV openers include Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert's Everything Everywhere All At Once, Tom Gormican's The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, and the season 3 premiere of FX's Atlanta.
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