A Criminal Christmas

I’ve heard that, for the cops, the holidays are the busiest time of the year. And for a cop, a busy holiday season actually means extreme chaos on the streets of Austin and in its stores. Instead of giving you the same report of “shoplifters being held at Walmart” or “traffic is backed up into the streets near the mall,” I’ll give you the highlights like I always try to do.

Dec 11

4:50pm

East Austin

Police responded to a case where someone was "jumping on the [caller’s] car and ripping her license plate off."

Dec 12

4:00pm

Narcotics cops were following around two white females in a car. They went into the parking lot of a "quickie mart" (it wasn’t clear which one) and watched one of the females go inside. After about fifteen minutes she came out. One of the narcotics cops watching her said, “I think she’s usin’. I think she went in and shot up.” A couple minutes later “she leaned her head back … and now she’s chillin’”

Dec 13

9:30am

Downtown Austin

Police respond to a call from a girl who got flashed in a downtown parking lot. Apparently, the suspect (a black muscular male wearing a beanie and baggy clothes) had his pants down with a raging erection while staring at the victim. Then he "followed her for about ten blocks and waited outside of the building she entered." He waited for a few minutes and headed back in the same direction he came from.

Dec 18

3:30pm

East Austin

Police were called to run off a group of homeless people who were camping under the stairs of an apartment complex.

9:55pm

Park View at Town Lake, South East Austin

Police responded to some shots fired in the complex a couple hours earlier. The person shot was rushed to the hospital and the SWAT team was called after police suspected the shooter was hiding in a nearby apartment. Residents were herded in a donated Cap Metro bus. This is when I tuned in.

With “alpha snipers in position,” and a perimeter of cops set up around the complex, the SWAT team began moving in. They thought that the suspect had climbed into the attic and was going to jump down into one of the other apartments, so they were going to check a bunch of them.

After about an hour, SWAT police were still sweeping from apartment to apartment, shooting some sort of gas grenade in some of the rooms.

At around 1am, police gave up looking for the suspect who they then figured got away. The apartment dwellers were allowed to head back to their apartments. Around this time, police got a “report of four black males jumping the fence and running.” Nobody was caught.

Dec 22

3:30pm

Best Buy off Barbara-Jordan Blvd, North Austin

Narcotics cops (on the official NARC1 police channel) were finally talking mostly unencrypted. They were at the Best Buy at 1201 Barbara Jordan Blvd, waiting for some guy to get back into his big-ol’ Texas truck. It's questionable whether or not this is actually “the guy from earlier.” The officer in charge wanted a photo of him and a positive ID: “We got like 500 Mexicans comin' out of here bro, I need a little somethin' before he comes out to the truck.” Police got into position to take a picture of the guy as he came out of the store.

A minute later, the guy came out of Best Buy, the police got their photos, and they watched him get into the truck. An officer followed him out of the lot.

They followed him towards Dell Children's Hospital and then pulled him over. After a little bit of talking, they had him get out of the car and they called in the drug dogs. Radios went encrypted for about 10 minutes. Then: "He's been pretty stoic but now with the dog out he's movin’ around a little more, which is always a good sign."

After a little more silence, things changed abruptly: "Are we lettin' this guy go?" said one cop.

The officer in charge: "Yeah. I would think so. We don't have enough people to follow this guy right."

Another cop: "Hey I gotta find somewhere to eat and use the bathroom."

The officer in charge, joking: "... aaaalllright if ya have to. Thanks to everyone for comin' out and helpin' out."

Dec 24, Christmas Eve

2:20pm

East Riverside

Police responded to a caller who was “watching a group of people breaking into a car.”

2:50pm

Southeast Austin

Someone called the police after seeing two men fighting in their apartment hallway. One of them had some sort of a pipe or pole.

5:30pm

Northeast Austin

Police looked for a "male subject who was slashing tires with a knife."

9:15pm

Northwest Austin

At around 8:00pm, I was outside and started hearing fireworks. Then the calls started to trickle in … Police responded to “shots fired” and later figured out that they were just fireworks. They got a bunch of misidentified fireworks calls for hours after this.

Dec 25, Christmas Day

2:00pm

Police responded to some type of a murder threat. The caller said she had "weapons at the residence, but they are locked up.” “The caller advised that people were on their way to kill her.” Someone’s getting some fuckin’ coal next year.

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