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Four injured after Austin shooting near South by Southwest venue

The incident occurred during the festival's first in-person edition since 2019

By Joe Goggins

The Paramount Theater in Austin, Texas, 2019
The Paramount Theater in Austin ahead of the 2019 SXSW premiere of 'The Curse of La Llorona'. (Photo: Paul Hudson/Wikimedia Commons)

Four people were injured in a shooting in the early hours of Sunday (March 20) outside a venue that hosted shows for South by Southwest Festival this weekend.

At around 2:50am local time yesterday morning, a gunman opened fire outside the Alamo Ritz theatre. The four individuals hurt were hospitalised with injuries that were not thought to be life-threatening. Around two hours after the incident, a man was arrested in connection with the shooting.

“Officers were on patrol in the 400 block of East 6th street near Toulouse Bar when they heard several gunshots coming from that area,” the Austin Police Department said in a statement to The Independent. “During our preliminary investigation we discovered the shooting started as a disturbance between two groups of people. Due to the ongoing investigation, we are not releasing the name of the person arrested. Officers believe this was not a random act and there’s no danger to the public.”

The statement concluded with a pledge to release further information in due course. The festival, an industry showcase that attracts artists from the worlds of music, film and media from around the globe, made its return to an in-person event this past weekend for the first time since 2019, with the 2020 and 2021 editions having been cancelled on account of the coronavirus pandemic.

Established in 1987, this year’s instalment saw country legend Dolly Parton make her debut at the festival on Friday to launch her new ‘Dollyverse’ online platform. Elsewhere, Donald Glover premiered the long-awaited third season of his acclaimed comedy ‘Atlanta’ and UK up-and-comers including Wet Leg and Yard Act made their first appearances at the festival.

Ahead of the festival, local law enforcement had pledged to tighten security, with the 2019 edition having also been blighted by gun violence. Five people were hospitalised with gunshot wounds over the course of the weekend that year, with Austin police chief Brian Manley calling the shootings “unacceptable”. This weekend’s incident on the corner of East 6th St and Neches St took place in a busy area dominated by bars and restaurants.