On October 27th, 2021, Austin Code Enforcement (ACE) employees and Austin Police Department (APD) officers attempted to serve 56-year-old Robert Bruce Richart with a search warrant service for nuisance and abatement. In a dramatic turn of events, a simple service search warrant turned fatal, after Austin SWAT officers were forced to engage Mr. Richart with non-lethal and lethal rounds.
At approximately 9:16 a.m., Austin Code Enforcement arrived in the area of Pinkney Lane and attempted to make contact with Mr. Richart, however they were unsuccessful. APD officers left the notice on the front door of Richart's residence, and ACE contractors began conducting lawn maintenance on the yard. Just over an hour later, APD officers sent a radio transmission, stating they were under fire from an occupant of Mr. Richart's home. One ACE contractor was injured from the gun fire; however they were immediately transported from the scene to an area hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.
In response to the shooting, APD dispatched Austin SWAT officers, regarding an armed, barricaded man. After twenty minutes from their initial contact, SWAT officers attempted to use tear gas and other non-lethal measures to remove Mr. Richart from the home but were unsuccessful. During one attempt, SWAT officers tried to enter the rear of the home, however they became under heavy fire from Mr. Richart. Due to the hostility of the situation, SWAT officers deployed a robot, which entered the front door of the residence. Upon investigating the residence, SWAT officer observed a fire which Mr. Richart had started within the home, and noted it was spreading rapidly.
After SWAT officers discovered the fire, Austin Fire Department (AFD) was immediately dispatched to the residence, where they attempted to put the fire out.
For nearly four hours, SWAT officers, Mental Health Officers and an APD Crisis Negotiator, attempted to de-escalate the situation, however all attempted procedures were deemed unsuccessful. At 3:39 p.m., the garage door of the residence opened, and Mr. Richart began walking out of the garage with weapons in his hands. In response, one SWAT officer engaged Mr. Richart, striking him multiple times, and neutralizing him. After neutralizing Mr. Richart, SWAT officers moved in, disarmed, and began rendering first aid. Despite life-saving measures, Mr. Richart succumbed to his injuries.
While Austin SWAT rendered medical aid to Mr. Richart, AFD continued to fight the house fire. AFD was successful in extinguishing the fire, preventing it from spreading to other residential structures.
During a statement released by APD, they are currently investigating the officer involved shooting. Additionally, they are looking for other sources of footage to provide to the public. The officer involved in this critical incident was identified as Officer Eric Strnad, who has 8 years and 7 months of service with APD.