Jan. 01--Austin's main trauma hospital was the site of fatal shooting late Tuesday that left one man dead and another charged with murder.
Police say Jesus Rodriguez Jr., 32, shot the victim in the chest about 50 feet from the entrance of University Medical Center Brackenridge's emergency room. Rodriguez was in Travis County Jail on Wednesday with no bail set, according to jail records.
Police haven't released the identity of the victim.
Unarmed security guards patrolling hospital grounds witnessed an altercation in a driveway leading to the hospital after receiving a report of a disturbance at 11:49 p.m. They heard two gunshots and pursued the suspect, yelling at him to stop as he ran from the scene, officials said.
Off-duty Austin police officers working security joined in the pursuit and detained a man they later identified as Rodriguez. They recovered a gun believed to have been used in the shooting, said an official from Seton Healthcare Family, which operates Brackenridge.
The victim was pronounced dead just minutes after the shooting despite being only about two bus lengths from the hospital's entrance.
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo was working on a holiday patrol when the shooting occurred and responded to the scene. Acevedo said there have been no similar violent encounters at Brackenridge since his tenure in Austin began in 2007. He also spoke to other officers who couldn't recall a homicide ever occurring at the hospital.
"That was, for them, a very unusual occurrence," Acevedo said. "We have a police presence there 24-seven, so I feel it is a very safe hospital."
At the time of the shooting, there were three Austin police officers and four security officers on the hospital grounds, Seton officials said.
Security didn't lock-down the hospital and the shooting caused no interruptions to health services because police apprehended the suspect and recovered the weapon so quickly, said Stan Knee, Seton's security director.
Ambulances continued to arrive as homicide detectives cordoned off the crime scene, and the hospital fielded a patient from STAR Flight about 30 minutes after the shooting. Knee, a former Austin police chief, said ER staffers he spoke with appeared unfazed as they continued their shifts.
"They could hardly talk because they were going about their business saving lives," he said.
Little indication of the crime scene remained Wednesday morning. Police tape that had blocked one of the driveway entrances to the ER had been taken down. An Austin police crime scene van was on scene until about 11:30 a.m.
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