Austin police release bodycam footage of fatal SWAT situation, fire
AUSTIN, Texas - The Austin Police Department (APD) has released bodycam footage and 9-1-1 audio from an officer-involved shooting last month.
56-year-old Robert Bruce Richart died following a SWAT situation in southwest Austin on Wednesday, October 27 that ended after a fire in Richart's home led him to leave his residence with weapons in his hands. The SWAT situation reportedly began after Richart opened fire on people with code enforcement who were conducting lawn maintenance on his yard.
The incident was caught on an officer’s body-worn camera. APD released the footage as well as 9-1-1 audio during a live press conference today.
WATCH THE PRESS CONFERENCE HERE:
Austin Code Enforcement attempts to serve warrant, does lawn maintenance
According to police, APD officers were assisting Austin Code Enforcement with a search warrant service for nuisance and abatement at the residence of 10610 Pinkney Lane around 9:16 a.m. on October 27. They attempted to make contact with the resident, and when they were unable to make contact, they left a copy of the search warrant on the front door.
Austin Code Enforcement then began to conduct lawn maintenance on the yard.
Around 10:21 a.m., shots were fired from inside the home. An Austin Code Enforcement employee sustained minor injuries and was transported to Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas.
A SWAT call was then initiated for an armed, barricaded subject.
Mental Health officers and an APD Crisis Negotiator also responded. De-escalation attempts were made for several hours but police were unsuccessful and unable to communicate with Richart.
House from SWAT situation catches on fire
Around 3:19 p.m., APD SWAT officers were in the back yard of the residence when they began to take gunfire from Richart inside his house. Richart fired many shots at the officers, according to police.
This led police to make entry into the home through the front door using a robot. The robot visuals showed a fire was started in the residence and was quickly spreading, according to police. Police said it was unclear where Richart was firing from inside of the residence.
Officers continued to request that Richart exit the residence for approximately 20 minutes. He would not exit, according to police. During this time, the fire continued to spread and now the home was fully engulfed in flames from the fire.
The Austin Fire Department began to attempt to extinguish the fire.
SWAT situation now an officer-involved shooting
Around 3:39 p.m., the garage door opened, and Richart began walking out of the garage with weapons in his hands. A SWAT officer fired at him and he fell to the ground, according to police.
The officers disarmed him and moved Richart to safety away from the burning residence. After Richart was moved, first responders began life-saving measures. During this time, the Austin Fire Department was able to fully extinguish the fire.
Richart was then taken to a local area hospital, where he later died from his injuries.
The officer involved has been identified as Officer Eric Strnad.
Officer Strnad has been with APD for 8 years and 7 months. Per normal APD protocol, he was placed on administrative leave. APD says it will be conducting two concurrent investigations into this incident: a criminal investigation by the APD Special Investigations Unit in conjunction with the Travis County District Attorney's Office, and an administrative investigation conducted by the APD Internal Affairs Unit, with oversight from the Office of Police Oversight.
Investigators are in the very early stages of this investigation and are currently working on locating any other sources of video. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 512-472-TIPS, or use the new Crime Stoppers App.
APD: Man killed by SWAT officer during situation in SW Austin
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