Filings reveal police had photos from AISD, Shadywood Dr. shootings showing same suspect

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Multiple students and a school employee saw the start of a spree of violence in Austin last week, according to new court filings.

Shane James, 34, the suspect connected with a deadly shooting spree in Austin and Bexar County, faces 10 charges, including multiple capital murder and aggravated assault charges, court records state.

James is accused of killing six people and injuring three others during a string of incidents on Dec. 5.

Officer shot at Northeast ECHS

Austin Independent School District police officer Sgt. Val Barnes was leaving the Northeast Early College High School parking lot after visiting one of the officers stationed on the campus, according to a newly filed police affidavit.

Barnes passed the baseball field and saw a man in the parking lot, and investigators said it appeared he alarmed suspected killer James. Barnes told investigators James pulled out a handgun and began firing at the 29-year veteran officer, according to the report.

Barnes told the investigator he realized he was shot and drove himself to a nearby EMS station for medical attention. According to the report, an Austin ISD employee was in their car, parked near Barnes. The employee told the investigator he heard what sounded like gunshots and saw a white male running away from the area where he’d heard the gunfire.

The detectives said they learned several students on campus witnessed the shooting and recorded a portion of the aftermath using their phones, including a man with short dark hair in dark clothes running across the school parking lot and getting into a dark-colored Nissan Versa. Video surveillance from the only exterior camera that captured the shooting also showed the suspect running back to the Nissa Versa, getting in, and driving away, according to the report.

Shadywood Drive murders

Police arrived at the Shadywood Drive neighborhood just before noon. Investigators said the suspected killer, James, was already gone. They found Emmanual Pop Ba, 32, with multiple gunshot wounds. Officers tried to save his life, according to the affidavit, but were unsuccessful.

A neighbor described seeing a man walk to the driver’s side of Ba’s SUV, open the door, and shoot three times into the vehicle before pulling Ba out of the passenger side and driving off, according to court documents.

Surveillance video shows Sabrina Rahman, 24, and her infant child were hiding near another home, according to court filings. Video, according to investigators, shows James driving in Ba’s SUV and stopping in front of the home where Rahman was hiding and running towards the front door.

Another neighbor described hearing several gunshots and the sound of a crying baby. The neighbor told investigators she found the baby still in its stroller. She told police she began caring for the baby as another neighbor attempted to save the child’s mother, Rahman, who’d been shot multiple times.

Rahman later died in the hospital.

The APD detective describes getting a still frame photo of the suspect who killed both Rahman and Ba in the Shadywood neighborhood and comparing it to another still frame photograph taken from the Northeast ECHS shooting. Investigators said they determined it was the same man in both photos. It’s unclear when police made this discovery.

APD officials said in a statement the day after the shooting there was no immediate indication that led them to believe the two incidents were connected based on the preliminary evidence.

“Merely sharing that an officer was shot does not give the community anything to ‘look out for’ or action items to take to be safe. There was no specific suspect or vehicle information to share which would meet our threshold for moving forward with a Blue Alert,” APD officials said in a statement on Dec. 6.

Victims of the shooting spree in Austin and Bexar County, provided by Austin Police
Victims of the shooting spree in Austin and Bexar County, provided by Austin Police

Bike trail shooting

Court documents said a cyclist told 911 operators just before 5 p.m. on Dec. 5 that he was shot in the arm by a man waving a gun near the bike trail behind Alamo Drafthouse. According to the new court filings, the cyclist told investigators he was warming up and taking a lap when he heard what sounded like a firecracker. He looked over his shoulder and saw a man run out of the woods waving what looked like a gun.

The cyclist told detectives he quickly headed in the other direction by bike and was shot in the arm, but he kept riding until he reached the ATX bike store and called 911. Investigators returned to the trail where the cyclist said he saw the suspect and found a gun, live bullets, and multiple fired cartridge cases on the trail.

APD detectives later ran high-resolution digital images of the characteristics of the fired cartridge cases he found on the scene through the NIBIN ATF database and determined the firearm used in the bike trail shooting was the same as the Shadywood neighborhood and Northeast ECHS shootings earlier in the day.

Austral Loop deadly shooting

APD detectives arrived at Austral Loop around 6:48 p.m. They got a call from a concerned father who saw on surveillance video a man breaking into his home with his wife and daughter with special needs inside, according to the police affidavit.

According to the report, an unnamed detective saw the suspect inside trying to flee from the backdoor. Investigators describe the detective running to the back of the house and being shot multiple times by a man investigators say is James.

James, according to investigators, stole the blue Acura from the family’s garage and tried to flee the neighborhood. APD officers began chasing James up to 90 miles per hour when James lost control of the car and struck another. Officers arrested James after the crash and brought him into custody.

While officers chased James, detectives went into the family’s home, where they found Katherine Short, 56, and Lauren Short, 31, dead in the house with multiple gunshot wounds, according to investigators.

Later, after viewing surveillance video of the break-in at the Short home, detectives recognized the man seen kicking in the door of their home as James, with a shaved head wearing the same clothing as the suspect in the Northeast ECHS shooting and the Shadywood neighborhood murders.

Investigators said once James was taken to APD headquarters, he gave a brief statement and invoked his Miranda rights. Later, detectives said James asked them to contact his parents. The investigator describes seeing James “smirk” and requested they follow up with the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office on the outcome of a welfare check on his parents.

The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office responded to his parents’ home that night and found two people dead inside the home. Sources confirmed to KXAN that the two people were James’ parents.

In addition to James facing four charges of capital murder, James was charged with two counts of aggravated assault against a public servant and aggravated assault in connection with the deadly shootings.

Dalton Huey contributed to this report.

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