3 dead, including SWAT officer, following hostage-taking in Austin (police)

By | November 12, 2023

Three people died after a hostage situation in Austin, Texas, early Saturday, including a SWAT officer who was shot during a shootout with the suspect, police said.

A second officer was also injured and the suspect was killed in the shooting, which occurred at a residence in southwest Austin, police said.

“This has been a very tragic day, a very tragic incident for everyone involved,” Acting Austin Police Chief Robin Henderson said in emotional remarks at a press briefing Saturday.

The incident occurred shortly before 3 a.m. local time Saturday when a 911 caller asked for help at the residence, Henderson said. The caller was “screaming for help” and said someone was stabbing her, Henderson said.

The first officers to arrive on scene located an injured victim who had managed to escape the residence, Henderson said. She was transported to a local hospital, said Henderson, who provided no details on the extent of her injuries.

Officers were told two other injured victims were still inside the residence with the suspect, who the escaped victim said still had a knife, Henderson said.

Officers attempted to force emergency entry into the residence to “rescue both victims,” Henderson said. After they identified themselves as police and entered the residence, the suspect shot them, Henderson said. The officers retreated and did not return fire, she said.

“As the suspect was armed and barricaded inside a residence and had two hostages, SWAT was called to the scene,” Henderson said.

SWAT officers arrived shortly after 4 a.m. and attempted a second forced entry to rescue the victims, Henderson said. As soon as he entered, the suspect “immediately fired,” she said.

Two police officers were shot and transported to a local hospital. One of them, identified as Jorge Pastore, an Austin police officer for three years, succumbed to his injuries despite lifesaving measures, while the second is in stable condition, Henderson said.

Both victims were found inside the residence and were fatally injured. They were pronounced dead at the scene, Henderson said. They have not been publicly identified.

The suspect was also pronounced dead at the scene, she said. The suspect has not been publicly identified.

Pastore is survived by his wife, two stepsons, his parents and two sisters, Austin police said.

“Please help me and our APD family honor OPS Jorge Pastore for his courageous and heroic actions,” Henderson said in a social media post Saturday evening, identifying him as the slain officer in the incident.

This is the first time in a decade that an Austin Police Department officer has been killed in the line of duty, according to Austin ABC affiliate KVUE.

“My heart and the hearts of Austinites are broken this morning. This is a horrible time for our city and those who protect us,” Mayor Kirk Watson said in a statement. “I pray for the family of our fallen officer, for our officer who was shot and had surgery and his family.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said in a statement that “the tragedy is a reminder of the great risks and selfless leadership our law enforcement officers exercise every day to serve and protect their communities.”

Several officers discharged their firearms during the shooting, Henderson said. They are not identified at this time.

The Austin Police Department will conduct a criminal investigation into the officer-involved shooting in conjunction with the Travis County District Attorney’s Office, as well as an administrative investigation under the supervision of the Police Oversight Office, Henderson said.

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