Austin's Violent Start to the New Year
Police record three murders within first week of 2012
Seventeen-year-old Mark Brandon Dominguez was shot and killed just after midnight Jan. 8 as he and two others were investigating what they believed were individuals trying to break into a car in their South Austin neighborhood. His was Austin's third homicide of the new year. Police responded to the call for help and, after searching the neighborhood, found two teenage boys in a taxi, one of whom matched a description of the shooter. Both teens were carrying guns, reports the Austin Police Department. Because the two are juveniles, their names have not been released. One boy has been charged with murder, a first-degree felony, and with unlawful carrying of a weapon, a class A misdemeanor; the second has been charged with unlawful carrying of a weapon. The two were transferred to Gardner Betts Juvenile Justice Center. Dominguez, who would have turned 18 Jan. 29, was an Akins High School student; the school is offering counseling to students affected by Dominguez's death. "We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss of one of our students," said district spokesman Alex Sanchez in an emailed statement. Dominguez was an active member of a junior firefighter program with the Manchaca Fire/Rescue department for at-risk or low-income youth. The department is planning a memorial service for him.
On Jan. 4, Austin police arrested and charged 30-year-old James Grady for the murder of Stephanie Renee Harvey, 34, Austin's second murder victim of the year. Harvey's body was found inside a suitcase in a Dumpster near Lamar Boulevard and Rundberg Lane by a homeless man searching through the trash. According to an arrest affidavit, witnesses told police they saw the driver of a car dispose of a suitcase in the Dumpster just before 6am on Jan. 2; a review of Harvey's phone records revealed her final call was to Grady. Police found inside Grady's Central Austin home luggage matching the suitcase found in the Dumpster. Grady has been charged with murder; his bond was set at $250,000. (See "Excited About Life" for info on Austin's first homicide of 2012.)