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Acevedo identifies suspect in Monday crime spree, police shootout

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TWC News: Acevedo identifies suspect in Monday crime spree, police shootout
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Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo named the suspect in Monday afternoon’s officer-involved shooting as Mark Fruge, a 51-year-old black male.

During a press conference Tuesday, the chief said Fruge followed an armored car guard into the Fallas discount store in Capital Plaza in Central Austin just after 3 p.m. When the suspect saw the guard hand a deposit to the store clerk, he displayed a weapon and demanded the cash and the driver’s gun.

When Fruge obtained the additional weapon and money, the female clerk began to scream. Fruge fired three shots of his semi-automatic pistol at the clerk and fled, according to Acevedo. The clerk was not injured.

As Fruge fled the shopping center in his vehicle, a civilian witness followed him. The chief said the witness called 911 and provided police with “critical” updates on the suspect’s location.

At 3:24 p.m., officers caught up with Fruge in the 7100 block of Ed Bluestein Boulevard. It was there the suspect exited his vehicle and fired at two Austin Police Officers as they exited their patrol cars.

The suspect shot at both officers, and both officers returned fire. Acevedo said Officer Roosevelt Granderson suffered an injury to his leg in the shootout. A fragment of glass was removed from his knee during surgery Tuesday morning but he is expected to make a full recovery. He has been with the department for four years.

The other officer involved was Officer Aaron Pippin, a five-and-a-half year veteran of APD. Both Pippin and Granderson fired at Fruge, but he was not hit, the chief said. Both police patrol cars were struck, however.

Fruge fled from officers again and hijacked a car in the 2900 block of Manor Road. At gunpoint, he demanded the driver take him to his apartment complex located in the 9300 block of East Highway 290.

Police were already waiting for Fruge at his apartment and he was arrested without further incident. Officers were also able to seize the 10mm pistol and cash stolen from the armored truck driver at Capital Plaza.

Acevedo credited the restraint and patience of the officers involved in the incident and their capture of an armed and dangerous suspect with no serious injuries to civilians or police.

The chief also said the civilian witness who followed Fruge from the discount store will be honored for his actions down the line.

“I really believe that person is a hero in my mind,” Acevedo said. “What is part of what makes our community so safe is we have a community that actually is in partnership with the Austin Police Department and trusts the Austin Police Department, and understands that it takes partnership to make this city safe.”

The suspect has an extensive criminal history, according to the chief. His photo will not be released pending further photo lineups with witnesses.

Fruge now faces two counts of aggravated robbery, three counts of attempted capital murder for shooting at the clerk and two police officers, and one count of aggravated kidnapping.

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