Off-duty Austin police officer shoots suspect in road-rage incident

MARBLE FALLS, Texas (KXAN) - An off-duty Austin police officer engaged in a Thursday night gun battle with a road-rage suspect eight miles east of Marble Falls in Burnet County.

“As a police officer, even when you’re off duty — you may be on duty, and that’s why you always have to be aware, to pay attention and you have to be prepared to take action” said Austin Police Department (APD) interim police Chief Brian Manley, who added that the detective is a 19-year veteran of the force.

According to Capt. Chris Jett of the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office, the unnamed officer was driving home around 10:11 p.m. in the 12000 block of FM 1431 when he came across a man firing a gun into a vehicle. The officer exchanged gunfire with the man before hitting him twice.

Neighbors said the shots sounded like fireworks. Those who called 911 said deputies arrived very quickly to assist the off-duty officer, who was not injured.

The 55-year-old suspect was found unconscious in the brush and was taken by helicopter to Dell Seton Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries and was in stable condition Friday morning.

“From what I understand the facts to be, our detective saved lives last night,” Manley said.

Capt. Jett says this started when the gunman rammed a family of three — two adults and what police believe may be a teenager — with his vehicle as they were driving on FM 1431. The suspect then started shooting at the family.

“While gunfire was being exchanged, the family of three successfully escaped into nearby brush,” said a release from the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office. They were not hurt.

Manley said APD will do an administrative investigation since its officer fired a gun, but Burnet County Sheriff’s Office and Texas Department of Public Safety are in charge of investigating the incident. The officer’s name will be released in the next few days, per department policy. He has been placed on administrative duty while BCSO and DPS investigate.

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