Is it safe out there? Following an armed robbery at SXSW, Michael Sanders found himself shot in the arm and bleeding profusely.
In 2014, a high-speed chase at SXSW killed four people and injured multiple others. In 2016, a gunman fired shots into the air, scaring hundreds of festivalgoers.
This year, an armed robbery left an indie rock guitarist with a sling.
On his way home from SXSW, three masked assailants who hid in the bushes confronted Michael Sanders. Two carried handguns, the third an AR-15 rifle. They pushed the indie rock guitarist against a car.
The gunmen then stole his money and cell phone. As the robbers ran towards their car, one turned around the shot Michael Sanders, hitting him in the shoulder.
Recalling the event, Sanders told Austin Chronicle,
“It wasn’t as scary as it was matter of fact and surreal. 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 bled profusely. Without a cell phone. He couldn’t contact police. He unsuccessfully tried to reach two neighbors. One had a locked gate; the other wouldn’t open. Then, Sanders went home, hit his security alarm, and returned to his neighbor’s house. He was finable able to call 911.
On his way to the hospital, EMS workers told him that the bullet didn’t hit an artery. The bullet, he found out later, fractured his humerus, but thankfully, didn’t shatter it. He recalled,
“As far as getting shot goes, it was a very clean shooting. I’m fortunate… because they were trying to kill me.”
Löwin, Sanders’ band, posted a photo of Sanders recovering at home.
“Hi folks, our brother Michael got shot Friday night walking home from a show. He is totally on the mend and was blessed with “best case scenario” conditions as far as being shot goes. However, we’d like to advise all of you that are SXSW-ing to be careful, alert, and walk in groups at the end of the night. Love you all. Be safe.”
Doctors expect Sanders to make a full recovery. However, he will not perform at the band’s three scheduled gigs at SXSW this week.
Police have yet to make any arrests, and the incident raises serious concerns. Sanders himself was totally unprepared for a violent encounter, and SXSW revelers are extremely vulnerable to attack. The happy-go-lucky, boozy vibe of the Austin streets makes attendees perfect prey, especially when they’re off the main drags.
Austin Police are undoubtedly looking for leads. We’ll update with more information.