Man with Rifle Terrorizes Austin Students and Parents

( – According to a KXAN December 8 report, parents of students at two schools in Austin told the media outlet they feel afraid because they saw a man with a rifle walking through the front of the schools for many days this month. The Austin Police Department said that the suspect in question is a 28-year-old man named Isaiah Smith, who walked in front of the Webb Middle School and the St. Francis School carrying various weapons.

The police told KXAN that the man was seen walking in front of the schools and the Austin Public Library twice a day. Smith was arrested on December 9 on charges of indecency with a child. News reports said that many residents thought he was planning a mass shooting in one of these three sites.

During an interview with KXAN, Director of the Austin Public Library Roosevelt Weeks said that staffers saw the man on many occasions as he came in to “take care” of “library business.” When asked to elaborate, he said that Smith was checking out various books, which he saw as normal client behavior. He also suggested that a tragedy could happen anytime soon because Texas is an “open-carry state” and libraries are public places where anyone can come in.

In a statement, District 4 Council Member Chino Vela said that parents have been terrified because they fear that something could happen to their children. He added that Smith has been causing “panic” in the community lately because he used to parade around various places with a “semi-automatic rifle” to intimidate people. Vela also pointed out that some students have been forced to interact with Smith.

According to his arrest warrant affidavit, Smith was contracted by the Independent School District to provide students with tutoring services, whose main goal is to prepare them for college. He was accused of sexually assaulting a student during a tutoring session at one of Austin’s main high schools back in October.

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