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Police identify victim of Juneteenth shooting in Round Rock

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Lyndsey Vicknair, 33, of Manor was an aspiring attorney at an Austin law firm, a wife and mother of three young children. Ara Duke, 54, of Pflugerville was an educational administrator at an Austin school and was expecting her first grandchild.

Round Rock police on Monday identified the two women as victims of a fatal shooting Saturday night at a Juneteenth celebration that also left more than a dozen people injured.

Vicknair and Duke died after an argument between two groups attending the event escalated into a shooting around 10:50 p.m., police said. They said Vicknair and Duke were attending the celebration and had nothing to do with the altercation that preceded the shooting. Both victims were pronounced dead at the scene, police spokeswoman Melanie Forcier confirmed.

Duke was an administrator at IDEA Public Schools on the Rundberg campus in North Austin, her cousin Xavier Walker said. She had planned to help her pregnant daughter move to London in late June, Walker said Monday.

“She was really excited to be a grandmother for the first time,” he said. “She was very outgoing and had such a generous heart,” Walker said. “She lit up every room she walked into. You could just see her bright smile and know she was beaming with radiant love.”

Walker said Duke's family has received dozens of messages from school staff. “They said she was the heart of the school and the soul of the campus,” he said.

Duke was at the Juneteenth festival with her husband, Walker said. He said she was sitting in a lawn chair when she was shot.

One of Duke's neighbors, Pflugerville City Council member Rudy Metayer, said she loves her community and her family.

“I can’t tell you how many times she made me aware of other people’s concerns,” Metayer said.

Walker said donations in Duke's memory can be made to Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, a nonprofit organization that works in Latin America and the Caribbean to help children overcome poverty, and to the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Austin area. Donations should be marked “In memory of Ara Duke.”

Vicknair was a construction lawyer at the Chapman law firm in Austin, Metayer said.

“She was a phenomenal lawyer,” he said. “She was smart, intelligent, generous and a wonderful mother who cared about her community.”

According to the Chapman Firm website, Vicknair was named a 2023 Texas Super Lawyer “Rising Star” in the area of ​​construction litigation by Super Lawyers magazine, which also states that Vicknair and her husband “have made an effort to give back to the community by organizing fundraisers and food drives and participating in other community service events.”

A representative for Chapman declined to comment Monday.

Metayer said the African-American community in Central Texas is a “very close-knit community,” even though people live in different cities.

“When something like this happens,” he said, “it should remind us how closely connected all people are.”

The death of his friends made him angry and sad, Metayer said.

“I feel for the bereaved and their families,” he said. “I want justice for what happened to them, and as a member of the City Council, I couldn't be prouder of how (Round Rock) Mayor (Craig) Morgan and (Police) Chief Allen Banks handled this situation.”

Fourteen other people were injured in the shooting and taken to hospitals for treatment. All suffered gunshot wounds, Forcier said.

The victims range in age from 10 to 52, Banks said Sunday. Most were released from the hospital Sunday evening, the rest are in stable condition and are expected to be released “within the next few days,” he said.

Previous: Two dead and several injured in shooting at Juneteenth celebration in Round Rock

The free Juneteenth celebration Friday and Saturday at Lakeview Pavilion and the festival grounds in Old Settlers Park was sponsored by the nonprofit The Voice Inc. and the Round Rock Parks and Recreation Department. Thousands attended the event, although Banks did not know the exact number of attendees. The Voice Inc. did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

“Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the tragic loss of innocent life and the injuries sustained by several others in Saturday's senseless act of violence. Our deepest sympathies go out to the families affected by this tragedy. We are committed to the safety and well-being of our community and will work tirelessly to bring those responsible to justice,” Banks said. “Together, we will stand strong and support one another during this difficult time for our community.”

In a statement Sunday, Morgan condemned the shooting and said the community stands behind the victims.

“To the families grieving the loss of loved ones, our entire community is grieving with you,” Morgan said. “We are a community that values ​​safety, celebration and unity, and we are committed to ensuring our community gets through this event together. We will not allow this incident to define us, nor will we allow fear to overwhelm us.”

The Austin Justice Coalition, a group that advocates for the rights of minorities, released a statement in response to the shooting.

“This tragic event underscores the urgent need to address the pervasive culture of violence and systemic injustices that continue to plague our society,” Chas Moore, the group's founder, said in the statement. “As we mourn this loss, we must also confront the root causes that enable such tragedies. Gun violence is not an isolated problem, but a symptom of deeper societal ills, including systemic racism, economic inequality and lack of access to mental health resources.”

Moore encouraged the public, activists and allies to come together to make future community events safe and peaceful.

In Washington, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre commented on the mass shooting in Round Rock and another over the weekend at a water playground in Michigan.

“The President is following these tragedies. We pray for the families who have lost loved ones in these senseless acts of violence and wish a speedy recovery to all those injured,” she said. “Our team is in contact with state and local authorities. As the President has said, this is not normal and Congress must act.”

Shooter on the loose: “armed and dangerous”

The shooter has not yet been arrested. At a press conference on Sunday evening, Banks described him as 19 or 20 years old, 5'7″ tall, with short dreadlocks. He was last seen wearing a white hoodie.

Banks said anyone who comes into contact with the man should contact police immediately and not approach him as he is believed to be “armed and dangerous”.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is offering a $5,000 reward for the capture of the shooter.

The Round Rock Police Department is being assisted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, an FBI spokesman confirmed Sunday.

Anyone with knowledge or information is asked to contact Detective Richard Maio at 512-341-3135 or [email protected]. Members of the public are asked to upload photos or video evidence via a link provided: https://roundrockpdtx.evidence.com/axon/community-request/public/2406150024

What we know: 2 dead, 14 injured in shooting at Juneteenth celebration in Texas

Round Rock offers mental health resources to the public

Police had a deployment plan for the Juneteenth event because Old Settlers Park is an open park with no security, Banks said. More than 22 police officers and members of the Round Rock Fire and EMS Department were assigned to the event, he said. Officers and volunteers were spread out throughout the park, and some officers also monitored the crowd from surveillance towers.

The city is offering mental health support to the public through the Round Rock Fire Department Crisis Intervention Unit, which is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Friday. They can be reached at 512-218-5501.