The man being charged for a shooting spree, that left six people dead across Texas, claims to have shown signs of mental health struggles in recent years.
Shane Matthew James Jr., 34, is being held at a jail in the Austin area.
Police said Shane killed his parents in San Antonio, before carrying out multiple shootings in Austin on Tuesday.
“We are still not sure if there was any pattern to how Shane picked his victims,” authorities said during the investigation that is still ongoing.
Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said,” I wish there was more the system could do to for suspects like this man.”
Salazar went on to explain the details of Shane’s past dealings with the law and why deputies didn’t take him int custody in August, despite there being a warrant out for his arrest.
Authorities across Texas first became aware of what was happening in the late morning hours on Tuesday. That’s when an Austin ISD officer was shot in the leg in the parking lot of Nelson Field, across the street from Northeast Early College High School.
The school was placed on lockdown at 10:46 a.m. as police searched for the suspect. 15 law enforcement agencies responded to assist.
Around noon, police responded to reports of gunshots and found two people who had been shot at a home. One was dead and the other died at a hospital.
Sources told our sister station in Austin that a handyman and woman were killed, and then James stole a vehicle. The handyman, 32-year-old Emmanual Pop Ba, and the woman, 24-year-old Sabrina Rahman, both died.
Karen Koski, who lives next door, said, “It could have been my husband going to work. It could have been my roommate going to work. It could have been me going to work. You know, it was just only an hour after I left.”
Police said, at about 5 p.m., James shot a cyclist, who is expected to survive.
Then, shortly before 7 p.m., officers responded to a burglary at a home where they said James opened fire on a responding officer, striking them multiple times.
Thankfully, the officer’s injuries were not life threatening.
James drove off, and once police made it inside, they found two people dead. Neighbors identified the victims as a mother and daughter.
“What was really sad is for the kids, and I’m sorry, in this neighborhood, you know, to think that they’re in this protected environment and they’re huddling in the bathtub with their parents,” said Robin Arnold, who lives nearby.
James was finally captured by police when his car crashed during a police pursuit shortly after.
That’s when Bexar County Sheriff’s Office deputies went to check out his parents’ home in San Antonio.
“We had deputies go to his residence, they knocked on the door. They saw water coming out from under the door, which obviously struck them as strange,” Sheriff Salazar said.
They found two bodies of James’ parents, 55-year-old Phyllis James and 56-year-old Shane James, Sr. inside the home. Both victims suffered gunshot wounds to the upper body.
Deputies said James is former military, and a domestic violence incident led to his discharge. He also has multiple past run-ins with the law on his record.
Public records show that in 2017, while apparently living in Mansfield, he was arrested for misdemeanor trespass in Fort Worth.
Bexar County deputies arrested James for misdemeanor assault in January 2022, accusing him of pushing or scratching his parents and a sibling.
But deputies said his family did not want him in jail for the sake of his mental health. James was released March 7, posting a $300 bond, and he then cut off his ankle monitor the next day.
In August 2023, the family called deputies back to the home for a mental health call.
“He was naked, he was just acting out, had a mental health episode and was upstairs in his bedroom,” Sheriff Salazar said. “Officers didn’t force their way into the home since the charges were misdemeanors.”
“Chances are he would have already served his time and been out anyway, even had we put him in custody,” Salazar added.
The Texas Organizing Project, a social justice organization, said it bailed James out last year.
The organization said James passed its rigorous screening criteria and that it can’t’ anticipate a person’s future actions, but it will conduct an internal review of its program.