AUSTIN, Texas (NewsNation Now) — Someone opened fire in a popular entertainment district in downtown Austin early Saturday, wounding 14 people, including two critically, before getting away, authorities said.
Two of the injured people were in critical condition; no one had died, interim Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon said.
Gunfire erupted just before 1:30 a.m. along 6th Street, a popular area filled with bars and restaurants. The street was barricaded to keep out vehicle traffic at the time of the shooting, Chacon said.
Austin police confirmed Saturday afternoon one suspect is in custody and another is still at large in connection with a mass shooting.
Police thanked the U.S. Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force for partnering with them to make the arrest.
It was unclear what sparked the shooting.
Matt Perlstein told NewsNation affiliate KXAN-TV that he was waiting with a friend to enter a bar when the shooting began.
“Everything was totally fine,” Perlstein said, then gunfire erupted. “We just heard like … a bunch of gunshots going off. Everyone got on the ground. We couldn’t even comprehend what was going on at the time.”
Eleven of the injured people were taken to one local hospital, another person was taken to a different hospital, and the other person went to an urgent care facility with gunshot wounds, Chacon said.
“Our officers responded very quickly,” the interim chief said. “They were able to immediately begin life-saving measures for many of these patients, including applications of tourniquets; applications of chest seals.”
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Chacon also said some officers transported patients to hospitals in their police cruisers due to the nature of the scene, where it was hard to contain the crowd and get ambulances to those who were injured.
He said his officers rushed six patients to the hospital in their patrol vehicles, while Austin-Travis County EMS paramedics ended up taking four. Three were transported in personal vehicles, police said.
“It was pretty surreal,” witness David Frost said. “You couldn’t even fathom something like that would happen outside.”
Investigators were reviewing surveillance video and other evidence from the area, Chacon said. He asked anyone with information on the shooting to contact police.
In a statement Saturday morning, Austin Mayor Steve Adler said in part: “APD and the City Council have initiated multiple violence prevention efforts in response- but this crisis requires a broader, coordinated response from all levels of government. One thing is clear – greater access to firearms does not equal greater public safety.”
In a final statement on Saturday, Chief Chacon explained that APD would not stop searching for those responsible.
“We’re gonna solve this case,” Chacon said. “We’re not going to spare any resources, any time. We’ve called in all of our resources to begin working on it, they are dedicated to getting this done and we are actively working to those responsible in custody.”
Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statement thanking police and other first responders and offering prayers to the victims. He said the state Department of Public Safety is assisting in the investigation.
The Associated Press and NewsNation affiliate KXAN contributed to this report.