Larry Steve McQuilliams, suspect in the Austin shooting spree that happened Friday morning, is dead.
An Austin police officer shot McQuilliams while the suspect was firing shots in downtown Austin, NBC News reports. The officer was not named in initial reports, but authorities said the 15-year veteran was “holding on to two horses” at the time.
Police Chief Art Acevedo shared details with reporters at a press conference early Friday morning.
“Many, many rounds were fired in downtown Austin,” he said, putting the number at “more than 100 rounds,” which miraculously resulted in no injuries.
Larry Steve McQuilliams “was known to have a criminal history,” Acevedo said while not elaborating on the details, but stating that he “had been wearing a suspicious vest at the time he died, so a bomb squad was called in to determine whether he was carrying improvised explosive devices,” the news site states.
McQuilliams was also storing propane tanks in his apartment that were similar to ones found at the Mexican Consulate, where he was reportedly trying to start a fire. He was shot dead before he could get much of an ignition, authorities said.
Acevedo was uncertain of a motive for McQuilliams’ actions but did not rule out that it was immigration-fueled.
“The national debate today about immigration, that certainly comes to mind,” Acevedo said. “Political discourse becomes very heated, sometimes very angry. The rhetoric is not healthy.”
In a separate report from KXAN, the news site dug deeper into the past of Larry Steve McQuilliams.
“I was just really sad because I knew Steve as a kind person,” neighbor Katie Matlack told the site.
A search of records failed to turn up any felony charges in Texas. McQuilliams’ parents live in Wichita, Kansas, the news site notes, adding that “people who where at that address did not want to speak with reporters” and that the Austin shooting suspect “also has connections to a Wichita dance studio.”
“He was a loyal volunteer. We’re shocked to learn of his involvement in the events that unfolded in Austin,” a dance studio member who did not wish to be identified stated.
The criminal records search in Kansas turned up a possible misdemeanor drug charge in 1988. Also, the site notes, “a local newspaper article from 1992 says police suspected someone by the name of ‘Stephen McQuilliams’ of trying to rob an armored car in Austin.”
“The address given in the article also matches an address where records suggest” the Austin shooting suspect could have been living at the time, KXAN claims.
What motivations do you think alleged shooter Larry Steve McQuilliams might have had?