Austin Police Shares Details Into the Investigation of a Series of Shootings Involving the Same Suspect

Austin Police Shares Details Into the Investigation of a Series of Shootings Involving the Same Suspect
Shane James

The Austin Police Department (APD) is currently investigating a series of incidents that occurred on Tuesday, December 5, 2023, all involving the same suspect. At approximately 10:43 a.m., officers responded to an Officer Needs Assistance call on Berkman Drive, where an Austin Independent School District Police Department (AISD PD) officer had been shot. Multiple law enforcement agencies, including AISD PD, arrived at the scene and located the injured officer. As of now, APD has not released any additional information on this case.

Around 11:59 a.m., APD officers responded to a shooting on Shadywood Drive, discovering two victims with gunshot wounds, 32-year-old Emmanuel Pop Ba and 25-year-old Sabrina Rahman. Pop Ba was pronounced dead at the scene, while Rahman succumbed to her injuries at a local hospital. It has been confirmed that these incidents were connected to the same suspect.

Later in the day, at approximately 5:47 p.m., a shooting was reported on West Slaughter Lane involving a cyclist. The victim sustained non-life-threatening injuries, was treated at a local hospital, and has since been released. Investigations have revealed that this incident is linked to the same suspect.

At 6:48 p.m., officers responded to a Burglary of a Residence on Austral Loop, encountering the suspect, later identified as Shane James. During the confrontation, James fired shots at the officers, injuring one. Two victims inside the residence were found dead. The two victims were identified on December 7th as 56-year-old Catherine Short and 30-year-old Lauren Short.

The injured officer has been released from the hospital and is recovering. As this was an Officer-Involved Shooting, information will be released within 10 business days as part of a Critical Incident Briefing.

Shane James was arrested and transported to Travis County Jail and charged with Capital Murder, along with additional charges anticipated. It is now confirmed that all the cases were connected to the same suspect.

In response to community concerns about early notification, APD explained that they initially treated each incident separately due to their distinct locations and motives. The incident that occurred at the Northeast Early College High School was led by AISD PD with APD assisting. We worked closely with AISD to gather the information they had. Shortly after this incident happened, another incident took place in a different area of Austin that involved a double homicide. The APD focused on the new shooting incident as they would any normal homicide.

However, as evidence unfolded, investigators determined a link between the cases. Regarding the absence of a Blue Alert, APD clarified that actionable intelligence is required, and in this case, there was no specific suspect or vehicle information to warrant such an alert. Additionally, APD did not activate TX HB 103, as the events occurred across different locations with various or unknown motives and lacked specific commonalities.

It is not common practice for APD, or any other law enforcement agency, to issue any sort of alert for every shooting that happens in their jurisdiction with an unidentified shooter.

The investigation is ongoing, and the Bexar County Sheriff identified two homicide victims in the San Antonio area as 56-year-old Shane M. James and 55-year-old Phyllis James.