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Austin daily refused to release description of 6th Street shooter-at-large because he was Black

'Police have only released a vague description of the suspected shooter as of Saturday morning,' the Austin American-Statesman stated
UPDATED JUN 13, 2021
Some cops took patients to hospitals in their cruisers owing to the crowded nature of the shooting scene (Twitter/Nickell Smith/@NickelleReports)
Some cops took patients to hospitals in their cruisers owing to the crowded nature of the shooting scene (Twitter/Nickell Smith/@NickelleReports)

AUSTIN, TEXAS: A newspaper has stirred a discussion online after it refused to publish the description of a mass shooting suspect provided by police. The Austin American-Statesman, one of Texas' most prominent newspapers, argued that releasing the details of the suspect would be “perpetuating stereotypes.”

According to Austin police, on Saturday, June 12, at 1.24 am, at least one person fired bullets on people near the 400 block of E 6th Street. It has been said that the firing was random, which injured 13 people. The motive of the incident has not been identified yet, but police have not ruled out a gang-related activity. Also, authorities believed that the mass shooting was an isolated event.


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After the incident, law enforcement released the details, which read, “There were a total of 13 victims who sustained gunshot wounds or were injured. Eleven victims are in stable condition, and two victims are in critical condition. At this time, no fatalities have been reported.” Police also released the description of the perpetrator(s). The official statement noted: “The suspect(s) remains at-large. It is unknown if there is one, or multiple suspects involved. There is one suspect described as a Black male, with dreadlocks, wearing a black shirt and a skinny build. The area will be closed for an extended amount of time to process the crime scene. Investigators are collecting and reviewing camera footage and surveillance video.”


“At this time, this appears to be an isolated incident. The investigation is on and this information is preliminary. Detectives are asking anyone with information or video of the incident to call APD Aggravated Assault Unit at 512-974-TIPS, utilize the Crime Stoppers tip line at 512-472-8477 (TIPS), or the Crime Stoppers app. You may remain anonymous,” the statement added.

But the Austin American-Statesman did not publish the description. While ending their story reporting the incident, the newspaper added the editor's note, which stated, “Police have only released a vague description of the suspected shooter as of Saturday morning. The Austin American-Statesman is not including the description as it is too vague at this time to be useful in identifying the shooter and such publication could be harmful in perpetuating stereotypes. If more detailed information is released, we will update our reporting.”

The stand taken by the Austin American-Statesman attracted a lot of attention on social media as one user slammed, “Meanwhile, here's the Austin American-Statesman in 2018, when there was an outstanding bombing suspect in Austin. Back then, the paper's stance was: we have no description of this bomber, but our stereotype is that bombers tend to be white males!”


Another one wrote, “Truth bad. Liberal narrative good. ~The Austin American-Statesman.” "So really the @statesman is protecting the shooter by knowingly not publishing the police's description?  very sad,” a person commented and the second one added: “This is evidence that they actually enjoy inciting violence and collective-guilt of white people when the shooter is white.”




Meanwhile, reports have said that police have zeroed in on two suspects in the Saturday incident. They are said to be previously involved in a dispute and police are working towards taking them into custody. Interim Police Chief Joe Chacon has also reportedly said that officers will soon be able to gather more information regarding the crime and the perpetrator(s) would be slapped with charges, including attempted murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.