It Wasn’t Fireworks: Gunman Killed in Austin Hotel Lobby Shootout with Police

austin omni hotel shooting
AP Photo/Tony Plohetski
Austin, TX

AUSTIN, Texas — For frightened guests at a downtown Austin hotel this July Fourth weekend, the sounds of fireworks really were gunshots.

Early Sunday morning, Austin Police responded to a 911 call from the Omni Austin Hotel Downtown, just a few blocks away from the Texas Capitol, according to a report by the Austin American-Statesman. The caller reported a man with a gun in the hotel lobby, and the dispatcher could hear yelling and crying in the background of the call.

Assistant police Chief Brian Manley held a press conference downtown Sunday morning, and said that the 911 caller reported that the gunman had shot someone around 4:50 a.m. and was continuing to fire shots around the lobby.

Manley said that police officers arrived at the Omni within minutes and confronted the gunman just outside. The gunman was holding a rifle. The man retreated back inside the hotel lobby, where he exchanged shots with police before ultimately being shot and killed by a police officer.

The gunman had allegedly shot and killed a hotel guest, whose body was lying on the floor of the hotel lobby when police arrived. No motive is known at this time.

As is standard practice in officer-involved shootings, the officer who shot the gunman was placed on administrative duty, according to Manley. The officer who shot the gunman is a five-year veteran of the Austin PD.

“We are very early on in this investigation,” said Manley. “As you can imagine, it’s a very complicated scene in there. We are working through the scene this morning, however, we have very limited information to share with you, but we wanted to let you know what we knew so far.”

Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker.