Real-life police officers sometimes say that TV and feature films rarely reflect the reality of being a cop. This past Saturday, 15th District Commander Alfonza Wysinger lived out a scene that could have been ripped right out of the movies.
On Saturday, June 23, Wysinger nabbed an Austin male who was involved in a shooting with another person. But that’s only part of the story. Wysinger, commander of the Austin 15th police district for two years, was off-duty attending the birthday party for his 80-year-old grandmother on his day off.
Wysinger was unavailable for comment Tuesday with the Austin Weekly News, but did speak to Chicago media Monday about the incident.
Wysinger, 44, was sitting on the front porch of a family member’s home where the party took place. While speaking to one of his relatives, he noticed a “20-something” man raise an object that appeared to be a firearm a few yards away.
Shortly thereafter, shots were fired. Wysinger told his relatives to go back into the house and stay down. The man, later identified as an alleged gang member, fired two or three times down West Ferdinand Street at someone Wysinger could not see. Another person, presumably the target, returned fire nine or 10 times.
Wysinger then identified himself as a police officer and pulled his firearm.
“I jumped down from the porch and yelled, ‘Police! Freeze!'” he said. “The man turned toward me and fired a shot. I grabbed my gun from the holster and returned fire. I then pursued the man down the street.”
Wysinger was unharmed, but told media a 40-year-old woman standing in a gangway adjacent to the party was struck by a bullet from the shooter.
The neighbor was treated at a local hospital and released.
The gunman fled south on North Leclaire Avenue. According to Wysinger, the man shot again, but lost his footing and fell to the ground. As he attempted to gather himself he fell again, which is when Wysinger apprehended him.
The shooter was identified as Augueste Burton, a 26-year-old alleged gang member, who resides on the 500 block of North Leamington. Burton was charged with attempted murder of a police officer, authorities said.
Despite this incident, Wysinger, an Austin native, has said he’s increasingly encouraged about where the crime rate stands in Austin. The city last week released its monthly crime stats for May, which showed overall crime down in the city 8.8 percent for last month compared to the same time last year.
Wysinger, though, has admitted that there is still much work left to be done. Nevertheless, this incident typifies what Wysinger has said is his “commitment to making Austin safer.”
As for Saturday’s incident, Wysinger said Monday that he credited the city’s Friday night weekly beat walks instituted by Supt. Philip Cline with helping him stay fresh and alert – whether in or out of uniform.
Terry Dean contributed to this article