Gunfire erupted on the streets of Austin, Texas, early Saturday, injuring at least 13 people, KXAN-TV reports.
The first 911 call came in at 1:24 a.m. reporting shots fired in a downtown area with numerous bars and big crowds.
At a press briefing on Saturday morning, Austin Interim Police Chief Joseph Chacon told reporters that 13 people were being treated at various area hospitals, including two victims who were in critical condition, according to KXAN-TV.
VIDEO: A mass shooting on Austin's Sixth Street left at least 13 people injured and two in critical condition early Saturday morning. The gunman is still on the loose. (OnScene/Metro Video Austin) #AustinTx #6thstreet pic.twitter.com/nzPlTjXiGk
— Houston Chronicle (@HoustonChron) June 12, 2021
The victims were rushed to hospitals by police in their patrol vehicles, by ambulances and in some cases personal vehicles.
“It was very difficult to contain the scene, it was very difficult for EMS to make their way into this crowd,” Chacon told reporters, the Austin American-Statesman reports. “And because of the nature of the injuries, officers had to go ahead and use their police vehicles to put some of these shooting victims into their vehicles and transport them themselves.”
Police are still searching for the gunman, who investigators say may be a Black man with a thin build. The shooter may have been firing randomly at crowds of people, according to the American-Statesman.
Following the shooting, Chacon said at the press conference that he could not confirm the public is no longer in danger because the shooter is not in custody.
Matt Perlstein, who witnessed the shooting, described what happened in an interview with KXAN-TV.
“We just heard like nine — a bunch — of gunshots going off,” Perlstein told the television station. “Everyone got on the ground. We couldn’t even comprehend what was going on at the time.”
Another witness, David Frost, told KXAN-TV: “It was pretty surreal. You couldn’t even fathom something like that would happen outside.”
The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Taskforce and local police are working to investigate the shooting, CNN reports. As part of their inquiry, authorities are collecting video evidence from people who were at the scene and from security cameras, according to the American-Statesman.
To report information about the incident or to share video, call the Austin Police Department at 512-974-8477 or Crime Stoppers at 512-472-8477.
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[Feature image: Austin Police Department via AP]