A handcuffed suspect in Texas reportedly shot himself with a concealed firearm while sitting in the back of an Austin Police vehicle headed to the station.
Police have been left looking for answers after the incident unfolded, stemming from a shoplifting and possible drug charge at a local shopping centre.
Officers had originally taken the man -who is possibly in his teens- in custody around noon on Sunday after being dispatched to the scene. Suspecting he may have warrants and with the suspect refusing to identify himself, the officers cuffed him and placed him in the patrol vehicle for a trip downtown.
While the patrol car was stopped, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said, that a “conversation occurred between the individual that was arrested and the officer that was transporting him.”
“The individual in the back seat was discussing suicidal ideations,” Manley noted, adding that the cuffed suspect managed to pull a gun from his waistband and paint it at his own head. Noticing the scene unfold, the officer in the car radioed for help and evacuated his vehicle.
“This was occurring right outside of a bar that was crowded with patrons watching a football game at this time, so the officers were trying to get people a safe distance away from the scene, while actively handling what was happening,” Manley said.
The Chief drove home that had the suspect had different intentions, the situation could have had a much more tragic outcome for APD.
“If this individual had chosen to remove that weapon and fire it at the officer instead, without saying something, we could be discussing a very different incident here today,” Manley said.
According to CBS Austin, the shooting was captured on camera from inside the patrol car and opens up questions into whether or not the man was searched. The suspect was taken to the hospital in life-threatening condition.
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