FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — After a nearly eight-hour standoff, a man who reportedly shot at police and held three children hostage has been arrested, according to the Fayetteville Police Department.
Austin Edward Wenger, 26, of Fayetteville is facing attempted capital murder, three counts of kidnapping, first-degree criminal mischief and possession of a firearm.
About 7:55 a.m. Friday, Sept. 6, the standoff began in the 2600 block of Lakeside Village Apartments, according to police.
He surrendered to police about 3:40 p.m. The apartment was gassed several times in an attempt to get Wenger out. Police said he was not remorseful and didn’t care he put others in danger.
Police said Wenger shot at them at least twice. During one of the instances, an officer was nearly shot.
During the standoff, tenants couldn’t access their apartments.
Wenger reportedly caused at least $10,000 in damages to the apartment. He barricaded doors and windows and tried to escape through the ceiling crawl space, police said.
Police said Wenger held three children — who are a one-year-old girl, a two-year-old boy and a 15-year-old boy — hostage. After hours passed, Wenger locked them in a room and they escaped on their own will through the bedroom window.
The standoff is in connection with a drive-by shooting that happened Thursday night, Sept. 5, according to an arrest report.
A woman reported to police that Wenger stole her SUV from her residence. She later said that he (Wenger) returned to speak with her, the report states.
She told police Wenger pointed a handgun at them. Some of them ran away and some jumped into a car and drove off.
Wenger reportedly followed the group and shot at them several times. The car was hit at least twice, according to the report.
About 1:30 a.m. Friday, an anonymous source told police Wenger drove a stolen SUV to the apartment complex. The source also told police Wenger was involved in the armed police chase that had happened hours prior, and was at his sister’s apartment, according to police.
Undercover detectives began surveying the area after the anonymous tip. An arrest report states, Wenger’s sister, whom they have yet to identify, was seen several times outside the apartment acting suspiciously.
She was approached by police about 7:50 a.m. when she tried to leave the complex. She told them Wenger was inside her apartment with three kids and another woman, the report states.
Police obtained a warrant and the standoff began after they couldn’t get access to Wenger. They said he bragged about the armed car chase on social media during the standoff.
This isn’t Wenger’s first run-in with police. Wenger has a criminal history including two counts of attempted capital murder, three counts of aggravated assault, engaging in continuing gang activity, residential burglary, witness bribery, committing a terroristic act, possession of a firearm by a certain person, vehicle theft, theft of property, third-degree battery and failing to appear in court.
At 19, he was sentenced to 12 years in Varner Supermax Unit. It’s the only maximum security prison in Arkansas. He didn’t fulfill his entire sentence. It is unclear why he was released.
When Wenger was 18, he pleaded guilty to three counts of theft of property, criminal mischief and terroristic threats. The incident he pleaded guilty to is similar to the situation Thursday night. He was convicted of stealing a car, fire several shots into someone else’s car with the purpose of terrorizing another person. He also, “threatened to cause death or serious injury to another person,” according to court documents.