Austin gunman had anti-government motive 'linked to immigration': police
Man holding a handgun (Shutterstock.com)

Police in Austin shot and killed a man who opened fire on a U.S. federal courthouse, Mexican consulate and police headquarters in the Texas capital on Friday in an attack that appears to be politically motivated.


The suspect, who has not been identified, was an Austin man in his 50s who had a criminal history. The targets indicated the attack may have been over U.S. immigration policies, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said.

"When you look at the national debate right now about immigration, that ... comes to mind. Sometimes our political discourse becomes very heated and sometimes very angry," Acevedo told reporters.

No police or other civilians were injured in the incident where the bomb squad was dispatched to investigate possible explosive devices linked to the suspect.

A mounted officer bringing horses into a stable fired at the suspect near police headquarters and may have delivered the fatal shot, Acevedo added.

"The sergeant was right there getting ready to put the horses away for the night. As he held two horses with one hand, he discharged at least one round with a single-handed shot," Acevedo said.

Police received a call at 2:22 a.m. about shots being fired in the downtown area. In a shooting spree that lasted a few minutes and involved what police said were "many, many rounds," the three buildings were hit and the suspect tried to set fire to the Mexican consulate.

Once the suspect was shot, officer noticed what appeared to be an improvised explosive device inside the vehicle he was using, and possibly another one in a vest he was wearing.

Police declared a "critical incident" and closed a major highway and blocked traffic through the downtown area. All roadways were later reopened.

Officers were examining the man's home in north Austin.

(Editing by Bill Trott and Jim Loney)