Police answered questions Tuesday the death of a 19-year-old after he shot himself in the back of an APD vehicle on Sunday.
Zachary Anam had been arrested on suspicion of shoplifting, and sources tell KVUE's and Austin American-Statesman's Tony Plohetski the officer who took him into custody did not search him because he had already been cuffed by an employee connected with Macy's. While authorities were trying to identify him, police learned Anam might have had outstanding felony warrants.
Police were transporting Anam from the Barton Creek Mall to APD headquarters for fingerprinting when police said Anam began discussing suicidal thoughts with the arresting officer near the 500 block of Lavaca Street. When the officer asked Anam if he was armed, he replied, "Yes" before pulling a gun from his waistband while handcuffed, and held the gun to his head.
“He is able to pull his arms around the right side of his body – almost to the front of his body, and lay down in the back seat and therefore he is able to press his head in front of the muzzle of the weapon that he had,” said Austin Interim Police Chief Brian Manley.
Manley added they are still in the process of determining what pat down – if any – was provided by Officer Iven Wall once he took Anam into custody. Wall and Officer John Ricker, who was in the backup patrol vehicle, have both been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation. APD also added that the entire incident was captured on the camera located inside the car.
After the shooting, Anam was taken to University Medical Center-Brackenridge, and died there Monday.
The Anam family released the following statement to KVUE:
"Zac was a beautiful kid, who loved his family and friends very much, and was loved by them just as much. He was born in Connecticut and raised in Austin, and graduated from Bowie High School in 2015, where he was on the varsity football and wrestling teams. We are devastated by the loss of our wonderful son, and very grateful for the overwhelming outpouring from the many friends of Zac who have expressed their love of him and of us.'
This is a developing story. Please check back to KVUE.com for updates.