'Screaming and freaking out': Mother calls 911 thinking her child came in contact with Austin shooting suspect

mom thinks son saw shooting spree suspect

AUSTIN (KXAN) — One of Jen Brady’s most heightened emotions on Wednesday morning was anger.

“My kids wouldn’t have been outside, that’s for damn sure,” she said. “Why weren’t we informed?”

She said she lives two homes down from where the suspect connected with several homicides and shootings across Central Texas killed two people and shot an Austin Police Department officer.

As her kids played outside Tuesday afternoon, Brady started to get worried when she heard helicopters circling overhead.

“My kids were out back playing kickball…they told me that they heard a firework,” Brady said. “And then I kind of put it together thinking it was a gunshot.”

She didn’t know it then, but she says she thinks her son was in direct contact with Shane James, the suspect in the shooting spree, according to court documents.

Brady said her son told her he accidentally hit a man he didn’t know with a kickball over the fence in their backyard. 

“So, I called 911,” she said. “When I was on the phone with them, the shots were fired up in front of the house…I was screaming and freaking out to the 911 dispatcher, and I asked him, ‘Should I put my kids in the bathroom? Like, what should I do?'”

Those shots would turn out to be just two homes down from Brady’s family, where a husband and wife lived, according to neighbors. 

“The cops came in, I saw them get down and start loading weapons, and that’s when I told my son to go back inside,” Arturo Morales said.

According to APD, an officer confronted James in a backyard, and James opened fire and shot him. That officer went to the hospital, and the Austin Police Association confirmed he had since been released.

“The squealing of tires and then the high-speed chase that ensued,” Robin Arnold, a neighbor, said describing what she saw moments after shots were fired.

 Multiple neighbors, witnesses to everything, said they were never told to stay inside.

“I am more upset about the tragedy. And then right behind it, not being informed,” Brady said.

KXAN is looking into what kinds of alerts are available in Central Texas and the criteria law enforcement follows when issuing them.

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