Update: Maurice Chad Paladino, 42, died while in the hospital Wednesday afternoon, less than 24 hours after being shot by an Austin police officer.
Earlier: At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo defended the actions the officer who shot a suspect outside of a South Austin hotel Tuesday night, but could not say if the shooting was in line with APD policy.
Chief Acevedo said that video recorded from two dashboard-mounted cameras captured the events leading up to the shooting and corroborate the officer’s account. He also said that civilians who witnessed the shooting agree with the police.
The officer, identified by Chief Acevedo as 9-year-veteran George Brandon Blanch, was called to the Country Inn & Suites off the northbound side of Interstate 35, just north of Woodward Avenue after a report of a spotted stolen vehicle.
As officers arrived, the suspect, identified by police as 42-year-old Maurice Chad Paladino, backed up and drove at the officers, according to the police chief.
Acevedo said Officer Blanch was at risk of severe bodily injury, possibly death, when he fired.
Paladino is still in hospital care and is considered to be in “grave condition.” The police chief said that if the suspect does survive, he could be charged with aggravated assault or attempted murder for driving at the officer.
Paladino has an extensive criminal history, including several charges of theft evading arrest.
The shooting came just hours after the chief announced a number of official departmental policy changes, one of which regarded the use of deadly force against a moving vehicle.
The new policy states that officers should first try to get out of the way of a moving car before firing their weapon at the vehicle.
At the Wednesday press conference, Chief Acevedo said that it’s too early to tell if Officer Blanch was entirely within the new policy when he fired at the driver, but he did suggest strongly that Blanch was in harm’s way and had a duty to protect himself.
He said that APD will conduct an administrative investigation with the Austin Police Department Internal Affairs Unit to take a look at the tactics, policies and procedures. The results of the investigation should be available in 60 to 90 days, Chief Acevedo said.
Watch the press conference in its entirety below.
TWC News: Suspect shot by police dies in hospital
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