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Austin Police Fatally Shoot Armed Suspect During Hours-Long Standoff at Convenience Store

Austin, TX – In a dramatic and tense standoff on Tuesday, an armed man seen pouring lighter fluid around an Austin convenience store and attempting to make a homemade bomb was fatally shot by police. Interim Police Chief Robin Henderson provided details of the incident, which began just after 12:30 p.m. and ended with the suspect’s death.

The man, whose identity has not yet been released, entered the store after police spotted him driving a reportedly stolen vehicle. Officers confronted the suspect, but he refused to comply with their commands to drop his weapon and leave the premises. One employee managed to flee, but another was trapped inside a locked office, escalating the urgency of the situation.

As the standoff progressed, the suspect fired multiple shots at police and poured lighter fluid on the store’s counter and floor, creating a highly volatile environment. By 5 p.m., officers observed him crafting a Molotov cocktail, further heightening the danger to the trapped employee and surrounding area.

“Officers determined the suspect’s incendiary device, especially if used in the area where the suspect had poured the lighter fluid, posed an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to the employee still trapped inside the store,” Henderson said. In response, one officer shot the suspect, who was then transported to a hospital and pronounced dead.

No one else was injured during the standoff or the shooting. The police department has since released bodycam, drone, and surveillance footage of the incident.

Community Impact and Reactions

The suspect has been identified as 35-year-old Alfonso Gonzales. Officer Ryan Nichols, a 16-year veteran of the Austin Police Department, has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation, a standard procedure in such cases.

Witnesses and community members have been deeply affected by the incident. Saxx Williams, the owner of Saxx’s Tacos located inside the gas station, recounted the terrifying moments when he heard gunshots while cooking. Gonzales allowed Williams to leave but held the store manager hostage.

“I didn’t know what was going on… I heard the gunshots, and I came around the corner and he put me at gunpoint, told me to leave. But in his eyes, he looked scared. He looked like he was in pain. But he didn’t come across me as evil,” Williams said.

Williams expressed mixed emotions about the ordeal, acknowledging the severity of Gonzales’ actions but also wondering if the situation could have ended without loss of life. Despite the traumatic event, Williams remains focused on rebuilding his business and moving forward, crediting community support for helping him restart his restaurant.

“We had to strip the entire store, bringing all new product on and everything, including everything in my kitchen, including everything in my walk-in. It was a full shutdown,” Williams explained. A GoFundMe campaign aided in the restaurant’s recovery, and the business is now operational.

In an effort to heal and bring the community together, Williams plans to host a special crawfish boil event on Sunday at the gas station from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Investigation and Ongoing Efforts

During the standoff, police used pepper spray projectiles in an attempt to subdue Gonzales, but he remained inside, continuing to pose a threat. When officers saw him preparing the Molotov cocktail, they acted to prevent further danger to the trapped employee and the public.

The investigation into the incident continues, with authorities reviewing all aspects of the standoff and the police response. Meanwhile, the Austin community is working to recover from the shock and disruption caused by the violent confrontation.

Police urge residents to report any suspicious activity and emphasize the importance of community safety and cooperation with law enforcement efforts to prevent similar incidents in the future.

 

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Patrick Zarrelli

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