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Attorney offers legal analysis into Sixth Street shooting

Austin attorney Sam Bassett said it's unusual to see two suspects charged, then have the charges dismissed as police pursue someone else.

AUSTIN, Texas — After a mass shooting on Sixth Street left one dead and 13 others injured, police initially had two suspects arrested and charged.

On Tuesday, Interim Austin Police Chief Joe Chacon said police had a new suspect, 19-year-old De'Ondre White. Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza announced the charges were dropped for the previously arrested teenagers. 

RELATED: Authorities identify new suspect, drop charges against two others in Austin's deadly mass shooting

KVUE spoke with Austin attorney Sam Bassett to get some legal analysis about the case.

He said it's unusual to see two suspects charged, then have the charges dismissed as police pursue someone else.

"It was a little surprising that the two suspects have their charges dropped," said Bassett. "And then somebody else was charged with murder."

While the two teens' charges were dismissed, Chacon said they both were involved and had guns but said they don't have clear evidence as to whether they fired the guns or not. 

Bassett said just because charges are dropped, doesn't mean they can't be charged again.

"Obviously, the priority is to arrest the person that is charged with murder, and that's probably what they're using the resources to do at this time," said Bassett. "With regard to the other two suspects, they could be charged in the future. Just because they were released and charges were dropped for now doesn't mean they can't be then charged later. So it's just hard to tell what will happen with the other two."

Meanwhile, police said they interviewed White after the shooting, but they said he had cut and died his hair, and then he went back to Killeen, where he went into hiding. 

"If they released him, that's a point to make at his trial," said Bassett. "If he goes to trial that, 'Hey, you thought you have the guy and then you said he didn't. Now you say you do.' I guess the response to that may be something along the lines of some ballistics evidence or other video evidence or other physical evidence that they didn't have at the time they were interviewing him at the station," said Bassett. 

He explained that extra evidence is consistently coming into play, meaning police have more to sift through. 

"When you have a situation like this with literally dozens of people involved and probably at least 10 different witnesses saying different things, it is pretty chaotic in the early days. And it's sometimes hard to get the accurate story immediately, and sometimes it takes some time and work," said Bassett.

Police said White will be charged with murder. 


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