Four people shot in downtown Austin during South By Southwest Festival

A gunman opened fire, leaving four people injured in Austin, Texas in the early hours of Sunday as the city staged its first South by Southwest (SXSW) festival since the pandemic.

The shooting happened around 2:50 a.m. near the Alamo Ritz theater, a venue for this year’s festival, which closes on Sunday.

The incident on East 6th St and Neches St took place in a busy downtown area filled with bars and restaurants.

The four injured were taken to a nearby hospital by emergency services. Their injuries were not life-threatening.

Police cordoned off the area around East 6th St and Neches St and warned the public to avoid the crime scene while the suspect was initially on the run.

The suspect, believed to be alone, was arrested by police about two hours after the shooting. The identity of the shooter has not yet been released.

SXSW is a popular event that attracts tens of thousands of people. It returned to Austin this year after a two-year absence due to the Covid pandemic.

The festival combines art and entertainment with film, talks and music from both emerging artists and well-known acts. It was first established in Austin in 1987.

On Saturday, singers Shawn Mendes and Sebastián Yatra performed at the event, while country star Dolly Parton made her first SXSW appearance on Friday.

Austin police had promised to increase security at the festival after multiple shootings over the last weekend three years ago.

Five people were taken to hospital after shootings in 2019. Austin Police Chief Brian Manley called it an “unacceptable” level of violence.

Police are asking anyone with information about Sunday’s shooting to come forward.

In a statement to the independentAustin Police Department said: “Officers were on patrol in Block 400 of East 6th Street near Toulouse Bar when they heard several gunshots from that area. A person involved in the shooting has been arrested. “During our preliminary investigation, we found that the shooting started as a disturbance between two groups of people. Due to the ongoing investigation, we are not releasing the name of the arrested person. Officers believe this was not an arbitrary act and there is no danger to the public.

“We will release more information as it becomes available.”

This article has been updated

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