Local Austin musician, guitarist Michael Sanders, was shot during an armed robbery that occurred on Friday, March 10 during the South by Southwest “SXSW” music festival. According to Pitchfork, Sanders was on his way home after seeing A Giant Dog at the Hotel Vegas when three men wearing masks jumped out from behind bushes near his home and robbed him. Sanders was shot through his shoulder while he attempted to walk to his home. The three men took Sanders cell phone and money.
According to the Austin Chronicle Sanders “believes the robbers were preying on people coming home from concerts.” The area where Sanders was walking is known as a popular community for short-term rentals. With this information, the robbers may have staked out the area awaiting their prey. Sanders suffered a fractured humerus during the robbery. “It wasn’t as scary as it was matter of fact and surreal,” he told the Chronicle. “My first thought to myself was ‘Oh my god, he shot me.’ My second thought was realizing that it didn’t hurt as bad as I would have expected.” Sanders band Löwin is scheduled to perform three shows at SXSW, but he will no longer be able to perform due to his injuries. This
This isn’t the first instance of violence at the music festival. Last year a gunman fired shots into the air in the middle of downtown Austin, and in 2014 an automobile collision killed four people and injured dozens of others. It may be wise to remain vigilant and use care when traveling alone or amongst large crowds. Most importantly, leave valuables at home when going to a festival.
Aggravated robbery, which is sometimes called “armed robbery” is a violation of Texas state law. In Texas, aggravated robbery is a very serious crime that carries some stiff penalties. The crime can be elevated to that of aggravated robbery if, in addition to the criteria for proving a case of robbery, the prosecutor can prove that the defendant used or exhibited a deadly weapon, and/or the victim who was threatened or placed in fear of bodily injury or death was an individual 65 years of age or older, or was disabled either physically, mentally or developmentally.
Aggravated robbery is considered a first-degree felony and carries a serious penalty of five to 99 years in a state prison and/or a fine of no more than $10,000. Hopefully, local law enforcement will be able to find the three masked robbers before anything else happens.