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Texas man dead after attempts to cut his grass led to fire and a SWAT call

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A visit by Austin officials to a man’s house to serve a warrant for lawn maintenance ended in tragedy.

The resident, who was not identified, was fatally shot by a SWAT officer Wednesday after the Austin Police Department and code enforcement officers attempted to serve the warrant for an overgrown front and backyard, APD Chief Joseph Chacon told reporters.

Officers served the warrant for “nuisance abatement” at about 9:16 a.m. local time Wednesday and, after attempting contact with the man, contractors began lawn work on behalf of code enforcement, said Chacon.

The resident subsequently shot at officers from inside the home and a SWAT call for a barricaded subject was initiated, he said.

Officers tried talking to the resident, and SWAT arrived with mental health officers and a crisis negotiator shortly thereafter, according to Chacon.

Despite hours of attempts to deescalate and make contact with the resident, he started shooting at officers again at around 3:19 p.m., said Chacon, noting that by this time, a local school had been placed on lockdown as a precautionary measure. The lockdown has since been lifted.

Officers then tried to enter the front of the home using a robot, which reported a fire had been started inside the house.

When they still couldn’t coax the suspect out, officers assumed he’d died as a result of the fire, as it looked to have “fully engulfed” the house, said Chacon.

But shortly after 3:30, the resident exited the garage, armed, and was shot by a SWAT officer, said Chacon.

The suspect was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead at 4:01 p.m., said the chief.

The involved SWAT officer will be placed on administrative leave pending a criminal investigation as well as internal affairs’ administrative one, said Chacon.

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