1 fatally stabbed, 3 injured in a morning attack in Texas
AUSTIN: A man stabbed two people, one fatally, inside a restaurant during a violent series of attacks on Friday in a shopping plaza in Texas capital that began with an assault on a coffee shop and ended with the suspect jumping off a roof, police said.
The attacks on a busy downtown avenue of restaurants and apartments just south of the Texas Capitol terrified customers stopping for their morning coffee on the way to work. It was the city of Austin's first homicide of 2020.
Austin police sergeant David Daniels said investigators do not know what caused the suspect to hit a person inside a coffee shop before fleeing and stabbing two people inside Freebirds World Burrito a few doors below. The man, whom the police would only identify as 27, jumped off the roof of the restaurant but survived.
Stacy Romine, 33, said she was drinking her drink at Bennu Coffee when she saw someone hit a man who was sitting with a table full of regular customers.
This guy out of nowhere just hit him on the back of his head with something, Romine said. People tried to contain it and prevent it from leaving the store after it happened. But three men, including a police officer, could not stop him.
Daniels said he didn't know if the pungent victims in Freebirds were employees. None of the victims were identified, but the Austin-Travis County EMS said a man in his 20s was pronounced dead at the scene. Daniels said a knife was involved in the attack, but did not say if it came from the restaurant.
Hours after the attack, Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott He speculated on Twittert that the attacker had no home with a criminal record, fueling a continuing contest with Austin's liberal leaders over people living on the streets. However, police had not said publicly if the stabbing suspect was homeless, and Abbott spokesman John Wittman would not comment beyond the governor's tweet.
Abbott has previously shared videos on Twitter that, according to him, capture the dangers of the city's new policy, but those videos include those that were old and criticized as misleading. A video that Abbott tweeted featured a man whose lawyer later said he was homeless and had a mental illness.
After the stabbed suspect ran out of the cafeteria, Romine said he saw him jump off the roof of Freebirds and didn't move after touching the ground. Daniels said the suspect was transported to a hospital but did not know his condition.
Daniels praised the customers who tried to stop the man in the cafeteria before fleeing to Freebirds.
We don't recommend that people get involved in a situation, but they decided to do it, and it was helpful, Daniels said.
In 2017, one student was killed and three others wounded in a random stabbing attack at the University of Texas campus in Austin. In that case, the assailant was later found not guilty by reason of insanity.