Austin shoplifting suspect shoots self while being transported to jail

A man who was placed under arrest by Austin Police for a shoplifting incident at Barton Creek Mall pulled a gun from his waistband while handcuffed and shot himself while being transported to jail Sunday.

During a press conference Sunday, Austin Police Department Chief Brian Manley said the unidentified man, who appears to be either in his late teens or early 20s, started a conversation with the officer transporting him. The suspect spoke about suicide to the officer while stopped at the 500 block of LaVaca.

Manley said the man then produced a gun from his waistband. Officers tried to talk the man out of shooting and at approximately 6 p.m., the suspect fired a shot which appeared to strike him in the head. The suspect was transported by ambulance to Breckenridge Hospital with what Manley said are life-threatening injuries.

The entire incident was captured on the in-car video system. An internal affairs investigation has been launched as well as an inquiry by the department’s special investigation unit.

Manley said he did not know at this point in the investigation whether the suspect was searched for weapons before he was handcuffed and placed into the police cruiser.