AM Update
8:59 am
Fri April 6, 2012

AM Update: APD Officer Killed, More Abuse Allegations at State Hospitals, First TV Fest Comes to ATX

APD Officer Killed

An Austin Police Officer is dead after being shot while trying to arrest a suspect early this morning.

The officer was called to the Wal-Mart on Parmer and I-35 at around 2:20 a.m. When the officer arrived, police say he made contact with the suspect and the man immediately began to fight with the officer. Police say the suspect then pulled out a semi-automatic pistol and shot the officer at point-blank range in the neck area.

In a press conference, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said that two Wal-Mart employees tackled the suspect after he shot the police officer.  

“It’s a tragedy on Good Friday to lose an officer like this,” Acevedo said. “But it’s part of what these men and women do. They know when they become police officers that this is ultimately the sacrifice they’re willing to make.”

Police do not believe the shooting was in retaliation to an earlier officer-involved shooting that took place Thursday evening in East Austin.  In that incident, the officer shot and killed a motorist after a traffic stop that reportedly turned into a chase on foot. That traffic stop occurred near the intersection of 51st and Manor Rd.

More Abuse Allegations at State Hospitals

Since initial reports this January about sexual misconduct among psychiatrists at mental health hospitals, the state of Texas has now tasked the Inspector General Office of the Health and Human Services Commission with the investigation.

There are 10 psychiatric hospitals in the state, and now, all will be scrutinized for charges of sexual and physical abuse.  But while the office already conducts similar reviews, now, the goal here will be developing criminal cases against suspected abusers. From the Austin American-Statesman:

The additional level of scrutiny there was added as part of a package of reforms passed in 2009, following reports that employees at the Corpus Christi living center had been arranging late-night fights among disabled residents.

In fiscal years 2010 and 2011, the investigators looked at a total of almost 2,200 cases at the schools. Of those, 313 were referred to the local district attorneys for prosecution … Until now, the state hasn't approached its serious abuse allegations at the hospitals strictly from a criminal case perspective.

Charges against Dr. Charles Fischer, a former Austin State Hospital child psychologist accused of sexually abusing two teen patients, were partially responsible for the additional statewide criminal procedures.

First TV Fest Comes to ATX

Austin, the city of endless festivals, is hosting its first-ever TV festival this summer.

ATX: A TV Festival hits June 1, and will be a "celebration of the medium: looking back at its history, where it is now, and where it is headed," according to organizers.  Those organizers include Richard Linklater and Peter Billingsley (a.k.a. Ralphie from A Christmas Story), who both serve on the fest's advisory board, alongside Robyn Ross of TVGuide.com and 19 others.

Programming for the festival is a lot like the typical film fest: Screenings, cast and director Q&A's, panels with industry types, and parties. But unlike film fests, there will also be a large emphasis on cult faves (think Firefly) and "canceled too soon" series, in addition to season premieres and never-before-aired episodes. Confirmed attendees include Bill Lawrence (Cougar Town, Scrubs, Spin City), Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights, Parenthood); confirmed programming includes True Blood, Parenthood, Friday Night Lights, and The Vampire Diaries.