APD Makes Arrest in Rock Throwing
Suspect faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted
By Annamarya Scaccia,
5:00PM, Thu. Jun. 16, 2016
The Austin Police Department have arrested a suspect in the 90-plus rock throwing incidents that occurred along Interstate 35 for the last two years, Police Chief Art Acevedo announced today.
Police charged Patrick Eugene Johnson, 59, with one count of attempted aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a third-degree felony, for what it considers the "lion's share" of rock throwing cases. Johnson, who confessed to two cases, faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
"We have been looking for a needle in a hay stack," said Acevedo. "We got lucky."
Johnson is being held in Travis County jail on a $250,000 cash bond.
The investigation is ongoing, but Acevedo believes police will be able to bring additional charges against Johnson, including attempted murder for three incidents that have resulted in injury. Acevedo said APD was able to identify Johnson, who is a person of interest in an unrelated investigation, thanks to a tip from University of Texas police. A motive is not known.
Acevedo said at least one other person has been identified as a possible suspect in the rock throwing incidents. Acevedo expects an arrest to be forthcoming.
Before ending the presser, Acevedo had a message for rock throwing copycats: "We’re not standing down," he said. "The copycats who want to copycat: Go ahead because you're going to end up in prison right along [with] Mr. Johnson.”