The shooting took place on January 6 along East Stassney Lane.
AUSTIN, Texas — A man has been charged with the first-degree murder of a 22-year-old woman who was killed in a South Austin traffic incident.
the Austin Police Department received a call around 8:40pm on Friday 6 January reporting gunshots and a car accident in the 500 block of East Stassney Lane.
When officers and paramedics arrived at the scene, they found an ambulance vehicle. According to an affidavit obtained by KVUE, officers determined that the vehicle was occupied by an adult driver and four children, ages 15, 14, 3 and 1 at the time of the accident.
Police found a woman in the driver’s seat of the crashed vehicle, bleeding and apparently suffering from a gunshot wound. She was removed from the vehicle for treatment but was pronounced dead at the scene at 8:50 p.m
On January 11, police identified the victim as 22-year-old Elizabeth Lopez. Police said they believed she was killed in a road traffic incident and they were looking for the driver of a light-colored sedan.
According to the affidavit, police questioned two of the minors who were in the car at the time of the accident. They informed police that as Lopez reached the intersection of East Stassney Lane and southbound South Interstate 35, the suspect vehicle approached Lopez’s vehicle from the rear at high speed.
Both minors reported that Lopez momentarily lost control of their vehicle and swerved into the lane of the suspect vehicle. Witnesses stated that the suspect vehicle pulled up to the right of Lopez’s vehicle at about the 700 block of East Stassney Lane and the driver began shooting at Lopez’s vehicle, hitting her in the head. This caused Lopez’s vehicle to go off the road and hit an apartment complex fence.
According to the affidavit, information from a family member of Lopez, an officer who responded at the scene of the incident, and tips from Crime Stoppers led police to suspect 21-year-old Manolo Gonzalez in connection with Lopez’s death.
Police learned that Gonzalez had two active warrants out for his arrest: one for burglary in a second-degree apartment in Bastrop County and one for forfeiting the bond in Travis County.
On January 23, Gonzales was located by the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force at a Kyle Hospital, where he was being treated for an unrelated collision. According to the affidavit, he was arrested because of his arrest warrants and taken to the APD Homicide Unit for questioning.
During questioning, Gonzalez admitted shooting Lopez’s vehicle during a street fair, the affidavit said.
Gonzales first encountered Lopez’s vehicle while driving west on East Stassney Lane in Palo Blanco. He said Lopez’s vehicle cut him off several times and didn’t let him pass. He also said he was unable to see inside the vehicle due to the dark tint and feared for his life.
Police using Google Maps determined that Gonzalez had several ways to steer away from the vehicle in front of him, but he continued to follow it for more than a mile.
Upon reaching the 700 block of East Stassney Lane, Gonzales admitted to firing Lopez’s vehicle multiple times, resulting in her death. During the interview, Gonzalez also provided additional details, corroborated by evidence found at the crime scene, according to the affidavit.
Gonzales was sentenced to the Travis County Jail for first-degree murder. His bail was set at $1 million.
This case is being investigated as Austin’s second murder of 2023.
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