Man accused in deadly attacks in Bexar County-Austin tried to escape custody at Travis County Jail, TCSO says

Shane James Jr. resisted but was ‘ultimately restrained,’ spokesperson says

This booking photo provided by the Austin, Texas, Police Department shows Shane James. On Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023, Texas authorities charged James with capital murder following a wave of daylong violence across two major cities that left six people dead and two police officers recovering from gunshots, including one who was shot in the leg outside a high school in Austin. (Austin Police Department via AP) (Uncredited)

SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio man accused of killing six people, including his parents, in a series of attacks in Bexar County and Austin tried to escape custody at the Travis County Jail, according to authorities.

Shane James Jr., 34, pushed past a corrections officer and ran into a hallway at the jail on Wednesday, Kristen Dark, a spokesperson with the Travis County Sheriff’s Office told KSAT.

Dark said the incident happened as the corrections officer was opening the door to the housing unit where James Jr. was assigned.

“Corrections Officers detained him and he resisted,” Dark said. “He was ultimately restrained.”

“The Travis County Jail is a multi-floor, secure facility and James would neither have been able to escape the floor he was on, nor the building itself,” Dark added.

James Jr. has been at the facility since his arrest late Tuesday following the daylong crime spree, which also wounded an Austin police officer, an Austin ISD police officer and a bicyclist.

Travis County Jail records show he was charged with capital murder of multiple persons and capital murder by terror threat/other felon in addition to three out-of-county misdemeanors. He is being held without bond.

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said he is accused of killing his parents, identified as Phyllis James, 55, and Shane James Sr., at their home in the 6400 block of Port Royal in the Mission Hill community near Kirby sometime between Monday night and Tuesday morning.

Victims - Phyllis James, 55, and Shane M James Sr., 56 (BCSO)

The Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office said they each died from a gunshot wound to the head.

Salazar said they believe the couple was killed before the incidents in Austin, which started before 11 a.m. on Tuesday.

Austin police said James Jr. shot an Austin ISD police officer in the parking lot of Northeast Early College High School at 10:45 a.m. before killing a man and woman in a home in the 7300 block of Shadywood Drive.

They have been identified as Emmanuel Pop Ba, 32, and Sabrina Rahman, 24.

Police said he shot a bicyclist just before 5 p.m. in the 5700 block of West Slaughter Lane, and then killed two women in the 5300 block of Austral Loop about two hours later.

The women killed on Austral Loop have been identified as Catherine Short, 56, and Lauren Short, 30.

James Jr. shot an Austin police officer who responded to the scene on Austral Loop, police said. The officer was taken to the hospital and was listed in stable condition.

The Austin ISD police officer and bicyclist sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

The relationships between the suspect and victims have not been released, nor the motive.

James Jr. — who served as an infantry soldier in the Army from February 2013 to August 2015 — was previously charged in a domestic violence case in San Antonio.

BCSO deputies responded to the home on Port Royal at least 14 times between April 2016 and Tuesday, law enforcement records obtained by KSAT show.

Seven of the calls were for disturbances, welfare checks and a mental health crisis, records show.

In one of those cases in January 2022, James Jr. assaulted three family members inside their home, Salazar said. He was arrested on three charges of misdemeanor family violence in that case.

While in custody, James Jr. had his bond reduced twice, charging paperwork obtained by KSAT Investigates shows. Laquita Garcia, statewide police coordinator for the Texas Organizing Project, then submitted paperwork to bond out James Jr. on Feb. 28, 2022, records show.

Conditions of his release were also amended, records show.

Warrants for James’ re-arrest were issued in early March 2022, after the defendant cut off his ankle monitor, Salazar said.

Salazar confirmed deputies were called to the home on Port Royal in August and spoke with James Jr., who was described as being nude in a bedroom, but left the residence without taking him into custody on the misdemeanor warrants to avoid a potentially violent confrontation.

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About the Author:

Rebecca Salinas has worked in digital news for more than 10 years and joined KSAT in 2019. She reports on a variety of topics for KSAT 12 News.