It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Larry Steven McQuilliams, the shooter who opened fire on several downtown Austin buildings Friday morning, had moved to Austin a year-and-a-half ago looking for a fresh start that he failed to find, one of his neighbors said.
McQuilliams had lived up north — court records and his Facebook page say Wichita, Kansas — but left because he felt his contributions were not appreciated by his employer there, said Katie Matlack, who lived four doors down from McQuilliams in a small apartment complex near Barton Springs.
“He was a very kind person. Everyone in the building knew him,” Matlack said. “I think he was just frustrated at every turn.”
He did not strike everyone that way, however.
“I’m not surprised at all” in McQuilliams’ involvement in the shooting, said Charles Witt, who lives in a nearby condominium complex. “When I heard the SWAT team was next door I said ‘Wow, I bet this is the bicycle guy.’”
McQuilliams, 49, was a Renaissance Fair enthusiast and martial artist, Matlack said. He took care of neighbors’ pets when they were away. Matlack said she saw him every couple of days while walking her dog. McQuilliams loved “Barking Springs,” the spillway end of Barton Springs where many owners take their dogs to roam off leash, and where many of Austin’s free spirits go to hang out. He would help clean up the hike-and-bike trail when heavy rains washed through it. He felt at home in drum circles.
He was also cynical about government, according to Matlack and his Facebook page. He was incarcerated in Texarkana, and his time behind bars — police have not released details of it, and online records are incomplete — meant a series of failed background checks that led, in the end, to a nearby car wash being the only place that would hire him, Matlack said. She said she thinks he lived off savings he brought with him.
The frustration seemed to wear on him, Matlack said, though he did not strike her as significantly unbalanced, or willing to shoot off more than 100 rounds downtown. She had not seen firearms in his apartment, only a few of the medieval weapons that seemed consistent with a RenFair buff.
“We were all comfortable with him, but we could sense that he was unhappy,” Matlack said. “We all knew him as a gentle soul trying to find his place in something.”
He did give off subtle signs that seem ominous in hindsight, she said. He had two cats, one indoor and one outdoor, and he had begun putting the indoor cat outside, as if to prepare for life outside the apartment. He start letting a neighbor use his exercise equipment.
Witt, who lives in the nearby condo complex, said McQuilliams would cut through his property on his bike to get home.
“He didn’t make eye contact,” Witt said. “Seemed kind of angry. He didn’t say hello and didn’t appear at all interest at at all in knowing who his neighbors were.”
AUSTIN -- New exclusive information has been released about the downtown Austin shooting spree that damaged four buildings, and ended with the shooter's death early Friday morning.
Law enforcement sources confirmed to KVUE Saturday that a single shot to the heart killed 49-year old Larry Steven McQuilliams. The shot was fired by Austin Police Sergeant Adam Johnson.
KVUE has also exclusively learned the Travis County Medical Examiner discovered the words "Let me die" written in black ink across McQuilliams' chest during his autopsy.
When Austin Police and the FBI searched McQuilliams' apartment in South Austin they found what appeared to be funeral clothes laid out on his bed.
Sgt. Johnson is a 15 year veteran on the force. He was loading up horses early Friday morning when he heard the gunshots, and while holding two horses with one hand he fired at McQuilliams with his free hand hitting him in the heart.
Friday afternoon, Chief Art Acevedo praised Johnson's quick actions saying "For a guy to keep his composure, holding two horses with one hand and taking a one hand shot with the other hand just says a lot about the training and professionalism of our police department."
AUSTIN -- Several blocks are still roped off Friday night in Downtown Austin as APD and the FBI comb over evidence from the early morning shooting.
This, as Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo tweets out references to what type of weapon the shooter used.
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo tweeted references to what type of weapon the shooter used while authorities comb over evidence from Friday's shooting.
Police say 49-year-old Larry Steven McQuilliams opened fire on several buildings including the Mexican Consulate, Federal Courthouse and Austin Police Headquarters using more than 100 rounds of ammo.
The shooting started at 2:22 a.m. Friday.
McQuilliams fired rounds at the United States Federal Courthouse on the corner of Fifth and Nueces Streets.
He then drove a white van to the Mexican Consulate at Fifth and Baylor Street, where he fired a weapon and used small camping cylinders to try to burn down the building. The fire was put out before any real damage was done.
At 2:32 McQuilliams began firing at APD Headquarters at Eighth Street and the Interstate 35 frontage road.
One minute later, APD Sergeant Adam Johnson, loading up horses from mounted patrol, encounters the gunman and returns fire.
It's unclear if Johnson's shot killed McQuilliams or whether he killed himself.
As officers approached the body they noticed he has on "some type of vest" and suspicious cylinders inside his van. Officers shut down the surrounding streets and evacuated APD Headquarters.
A bomb squad robot inspected the cylinders and the vest and cleared the scene several hours later.
More than two dozen propane canisters were later removed by FBI agents from McQuilliam's home at the South Creek Apartments in the Barton Hills neighborhood.
Police have not confirmed what kind of weapon McQuilliams used, but on the scanner officers referred to an "automatic weapon fired."
Friday evening, Chief Acevedo tweeted "No need to be sorry, but when my cops and community are attacked by someone with automatic weapons, I want them to be properly equipped."
In reply to a question about his reference to automatic weapons, the Chief wrote "I think my comments are a tell we will release much more on Monday."
Besides McQuilliams, no one was killed or injured during the shooting spree.