Really? Really!?

Cuffed suspect shoots himself in the head in back of cop car

So many questions.

KXAN in Austin, Texas, reports police are investigating how a suspect who was handcuffed in the back of a police car was able to shoot himself in the head Sunday.

First, how did he even have a gun? The report says the suspect was picked up at Barton Creek Square Mall for shoplifting and possession of a controlled substance.

The police were unable to determine the name of the young man (who they thought was in his late teens, early 20s), so they were planning to take him to the station to be fingerprinted.

During transit, police say, the man was making suicidal comments. An officer asked if he had a way to do it, the suspect answered yes.

He "removed a pistol it appears from the back of his waistband, placed it towards his head while still handcuffed, was able to pull his hands around to the side," Austin Police Interim Chief Brian Manley told KXAN.

Manly said the officer pulled over and got out in front of a bar, the Austin Ale House, and began to try to diffuse the situation.

"The officers were trying to get people a safe distance away from the scene while actively handling what was happening."

Manley said after several minutes of pointing the gun at himself, the suspect shot himself in the head.

"Absolutely there was a danger (to the police officer)" Manley said. "If this individual had chosen to remove that weapon and fire at the officer instead of saying something, we could be here discussing a very different incident here today."

It's still unclear how the suspect had the weapon, since, according to KXAN, "APD protocol calls for searching a suspect for weapons before they are placed inside a police vehicle.

The suspect was sent to University Medical Center Brackenridge in critical condition.

Manly said the whole incident was captured on police video.

KXAN reports: "APD is investigating whether protocol was followed. APD policy says officers cannot put their hands under a suspect's clothing unless they feel something that seems like it could be a weapon. They can make suspects take off coats and jackets."

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