|At about 6:30 last night (July 22nd, 2013), a military helicopter was circling my neighborhood for about 30 - 45 minutes. It was low and very loud prompting me to investigate. When I went outside, a militarized police officer in full tactical gear with a German Shepard started yelling at me from my neighbor's property. He was wandering around with a regular a police officer in the standard APD uniform.
A Bell OH-58 Military helicopter owned by the City of Austin
I later looked it up and the helicopter turned out to be a Bell OH-58 Military helicopter; it was very loud.
With the helicopter hovering as low as it was, I couldn't hear anything that the tactically-dressed officer was yelling at me. I calmly pointed to my ears and the sky at the same time indicating I could not hear a word of what he was saying. So he approached me closer. He finally said, "Is this your house?" To which I responded, "It is." He then yelled at me to go inside of my house.
I did not go inside and so the officer (which I was only assuming was his profession at this point) continued yelling at me to do so. He eventually told me that an armed assailant was on the loose and they were looking for him. While I appreciated his concern for the situation, I remained outside. It wasn't so much an act of defiance, but rather consideration that I had nothing to be defiant about since I was standing on my own front porch and was otherwise curious about the situation.
A number of my neighbors were outside trying to understand the commotion in the sky. When I peered down the block, I noticed there were several APD vehicles around the neighborhood with their lights on, presumably blocking off strategic exit points.
The same cop who had yelled at me asked my neighbor permission to search her yard. Both the tactical-officer and APD had their guns fully drawn as they searched through the yard. We have a lot of tall bamboo separating our yards from the creek and I think they were primarily interested in searching through there. To my knowledge, they didn't find anyone.
About an hour later, the cops apparently found what they deemed to be "evidence" in another neighbor's backyard. It was brought out front in a sealed evidence bag. I don't know what it was. A crime scene van hung around the area for awhile and then all was clear.
After posting the story to Reddit, I was informed that a man robbed three people of their electronics at gunpoint and then apparently fled into the creek behind my house. I've still not seen any additional details posted about the situation in local media or the like and so I'm not sure if they got him or not.
I'm all for people catching the bad guys. And in this case, anyone who commits an act of aggression against another (especially with a firearm) is a bad guy - undoubtedly. However, I am NOT okay with the flippant attitude that most people have towards the City of Austin owning such toys. I think it's especially sad that for such a liberal city like Austin, that same liberal leadership can sign off on things like this.