AUSTIN (KXAN) — The man killed by three Austin police officers at his North Austin home over the July Fourth weekend was armed with a BB pistol, according to police.
A dispatcher described Richard Munroe, 25, as “distraught” and “suicidal” when he called 911 at 3:48 a.m. Sunday.
Neighbor Justin Benedict was pulling up to his house when officers were in the neighborhood looking for Munroe’s house on Golden Quail Drive.
“When I looked up, there was a police officer coming my way,” said Benedict. “He did his lights, his sirens, and started going down the street, stopped turned around and came back down the street, and I didn’t know what was going on.”
Police say when officers got to the front door, the 911 caller came to the door with a weapon. When he did not comply with their requests, the officers used a Taser, but it was ineffective. The man went back inside the house and then came back out — still armed with the gun — which the Austin Police Department said was a replica of a police and military firearm. Officers also noticed self-inflicted wounds on the man’s arms.
Munroe raised and pointed the gun at officers, according to police, and three police officers opened fire on the man, killing him.
“All I heard was a couple different voices screaming, ‘Hey, hey, hey,’ and then you hear just, ‘Pop, pop, pop,’” said Benedict. “And that was it. Nothing else after that.”
Benedict has seen Munroe and others at his home before and never noticed anything out of the ordinary.
The three officers who opened fire include Stephen Johnson, Matthew Murphy and John Nelson. Johnson and Murphy have been on the force one year, and Nelson has been an officer since March.
“I think they did it the right way,” said Benedict. “Try to Tase him. That didn’t work, and then he went for the gun — or whatever the case may have been. Then, they shot him. There’s no way around that. He had a gun.”
All three officers have been placed on paid administrative leave while the Department conducts an internal investigation, along with the Office of the Police Monitor. The case will also be presented to a Travis County grand jury.