A shooter fired over 100 rounds of ammunition at government buildings in Austin, Texas, early Friday morning before a police officer shot at him and he died on the scene.
Although the suspect, 49-year-old Larry Steven McQuilliams, went on a 10-minute shooting spree in the city's downtown, no one was hurt. Authorities remain uncertain whether he was killed by police bullets or a self-inflicted wound.
Police said the suspect also attempted to set fire to the Mexican consulate using a small green tank typically found in portable barbeques. The fire was put out before it could cause any significant damage, MSNBC reported.
Rosalba Ojeda, the consul general of Mexico in Austin, told Fusion the motives for the attack remain unclear. She said the man used something similar to an AK-47 and a .22 caliber handgun to shoot at the consulate building. "There are over 30 bullet perforations in the lobby windows," she said. "Fortunately, the attack happened during a holiday at 2:30 in the morning when no one was here."
Ojeda said the consulate will open on Monday and will continue normal operations. Austin police will perform continuous rounds in the following days to keep a watchful eye on the facility, she said.
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo told reporters Friday that the buildings the suspect chose to target imply “violent anti-government behavior.” The FBI is also investigating the shooting, which targeted a federal courthouse, among other buildings.
Acevedo speculated that President Obama’s recent immigration announcement might have provoked McQuilliams.
"If you look at a person shooting up the Mexican consulate and then the federal building — this is all speculation — but when you look at the national debate right now about immigration, that certainly comes to mind," he said. "Political discourse becomes very heated, sometimes very angry," he continued. "The rhetoric is not healthy."
The rampage began at 2:20 a.m., a few blocks away from Sixth Street, a popular nightlife destination packed with bars and clubs. KVUE, an ABC affiliate, posted a YouTube video recorded by a woman in a nearby parking lot at the time of the shooting [Warning: explicit language]:
An on-duty police officer shot at McQuilliams after he headed for police headquarters and the suspect dropped to the ground.
McQuilliams was wearing a vest, which police believed could be holding explosives. The bomb squad was called onto the scene but found no incendiary materials on the body or the suspect’s car.
Police noted he had a criminal record, but would not elaborate. KXAN obtained criminal records from Kansas that show a man with the same name and date of birth was convicted of a minor drug charge in 1988. Four years later, a man identified as "Stephen McQuilliams" was suspected of robbing an armored car in Austin, according to the report.
A SWAT team also broke into his home in South Austin.
Neighbors told reporters McQuilliams moved to Austin about a year and a half ago from Wichita, Kansas. They said he described himself as a Renaissance fair enthusiast and martial artist, the type of person who would enjoy a drum circle. McQuilliams would take care of neighbors' pets when they traveled, the Austin Statesman reported.
Here are some photographs from McQuilliams' Facebook profile: