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What we know about a series of attacks that left 2 dead in NE Bexar County, 4 others dead in Austin

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SAN ANTONIO – A 34-year-old San Antonio man was arrested late Tuesday in Austin after a string of attacks that left six people dead — including two people in Bexar County — and at least three others injured.

Police in Austin said the victims were found dead in pairs in different homes during the daylong attacks. Police have identified him as Shane James.

Travis County Jail records show James was booked after 1:30 a.m. Wednesday and charged with capital murder in addition to several out-of-county misdemeanors.

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said James had three warrants in Bexar County for misdemeanor assault causing bodily injury-family. He was bonded out by the Texas Organizing Project in early 2022.

The warrants out for James’ re-arrest were issued almost two years ago — but he apparently remained free.

Austin police said they believe James is the sole suspect responsible for all of the deaths there. The relationships between the suspect and victims have not been released, nor the motive.

Salazar confirmed James is accused of killing two people here.

As of Wednesday afternoon, this is what we know so far.

Salazar said at around 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, his agency learned about the suspect’s connection with a home on Port Royal in the Mission Hill community near Kirby.

Deputies responded to the home and found water leaking from the house, Salazar said.

Deputies then forced entry into the home and found the bodies of a man and a woman, believed to be in their 50s, in a small bedroom. He didn’t immediately know how they were killed but said the manner was violent.

Neighbors did not report a shooting at the house. Salazar said he also didn’t know what caused the water leak.

Salazar said Wednesday afternoon during a press conference that the victims were James’ parents, identified as Phyllis James and Shane James Sr.

Salazar added they believe the man and woman were killed before the incidents in Austin, which started before 11 a.m. on Tuesday.

The sheriff said the victims were well-known in the community.

“I’m not quite sure what’s at the root of it, but … nobody deserves to die the way we believed that they died,” Salazar said.

Bexar County booking records obtained by KSAT show James was bonded out in early 2022 by Laquita Garcia. Garcia is statewide policy coordinator for the Texas Organizing Project (TOP), an area group that advocates for bail reform.

The group has been criticized for bailing out defendants who cannot afford bond.

Sources told KSAT that James had three pending cases in Bexar County for misdemeanor assault causing bodily injury-family.

Warrants for James’ re-arrest were issued in early March 2022, a law enforcement source told KSAT on the condition of anonymity. Despite the pending warrants, county officials have not said why James was not taken back into custody at any point over the past 21 months.

TOP officials, including Garcia, have not responded to multiple emails seeking comment Wednesday.

TOP in past years had bonded out as many as 25 to 30 Bexar County Jail inmates per month on bonds totaling $5,000 or less, the source said. That number had dwindled to around two a month before increasing to about five defendants a week in recent weeks.

An Austin ISD police officer was shot and sustained non-life-threatening injuries after an altercation in the parking lot of Northeast Early College High School at 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, APD Interim Chief of Police Robin Henderson said in a news release late Tuesday.

Just after 11 a.m., Austin ISD posted on Twitter that the school was “in lockdown due to shots heard in the area. Police are responding. Please do not come to campus.”

Around 11:45 a.m., the school district posted an update that the campus was “safe” but still in lockdown. They wrote that an Austin ISD police officer “sustained injuries during an altercation in the parking lot.”

The Austin American-Statesman reported that the officer told investigators that he was ambushed by an assailant, according to scanner traffic.

No students or staff were reported to be injured.

The school is in northeast Austin, off Highway 290 — just east of Interstate 35 and south of Highway 183.

Northeast Early College High School parking lot via Google Maps (Google Maps)

Austin police said at about noon, a man and a woman were found dead in a home in the 7300 block of Shadywood Drive.

“Austin 911 communications received multiple calls for help,” Henderson said.

Henderson did not say how they died. Their names and ages were not released.

Then, just before 5 p.m., Austin police received a call about a male bicyclist shot in the 5700 block of West Slaughter Lane, less than seven miles away from the home on Shadywood Lane.

The cyclist sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

Just before 7 p.m., Austin police responded to a call of a burglary in progress at a home in the 5300 block of Austral Loop, less than two miles away from the shooting on Slaughter Lane.

There, they found two people dead. Henderson did not say how they died. Their genders, names and ages were not released.

Henderson said they didn’t believe the attacks were connected until the last incident occurred and after the suspect was taken into custody.

As an Austin police officer responded to the last call at the home on Austral Loop, the officer saw a male suspect in the backyard.

The man “immediately opened fire” at the officer, striking the officer multiple times, Henderson said. The officer returned fire before the suspect drove off.

The officer was taken to the hospital and was listed in stable condition.

The suspect, who was not hit, was pursued by police. He ended up crashing at around 7:15 p.m. at the intersection of South Highway 45 and FM 1826. He was taken into custody.

Henderson said he had a gun on him.

The suspect was taken to the Travis County Jail and charged with capital murder in addition to several out-of-county misdemeanors.

Additional charges are pending, Henderson said.

“We strongly believe one suspect is responsible for all of the incidents,” Henderson said late Tuesday. “The suspect is in custody and no longer poses a threat to our Austin community.”

His relationship with the victims, if any, is unknown at this time.

As the story developed on Wednesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released the following statement:

“Texans grieve for the loved ones of the six Texans who were murdered by a hardened criminal who must never see the light of day again. The murderer also shot two law enforcement officers in the line of duty. Texas is a law-and-order state, and violence will never be tolerated. We thank all state and local law enforcement and first responders who apprehended this criminal and protected their communities. The State of Texas will provide all resources necessary to impose the full weight of law on this criminal for his despicable crimes. Cecilia and I ask our fellow Texans to join us in lifting up in prayer the families and loved ones of those who were killed, as well as the Texans who are recovering from injuries, including an Austin Police Officer and an Austin Independent School District police officer.”

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