AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – Amarillo Police Department Chief Birkenfeld held a press conference for 10 a.m. Friday, after the department announced an Amarillo 18-year-old was arrested in connection to the string of shootings that shook the community on Labor Day.
Birkenfeld reported that David Lee Winfield, 18, was arrested in Amarillo late Thursday night, Sept. 30, on four charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. At the time of the press conference, police reported to believe Winfield acted alone and at random.
According to jail records, days after the Sept. 6 shootings, Winfield was arrested on Sept. 10 on a charge of public intoxication and booked into the Randall County Jail. This arrest appeared to be unrelated, though a mugshot of Winfield was available through that incident.
Giving credit where he felt due, Birkenfeld thanked the Amarillo community for civilian tips and information that assisted with the ongoing investigation. He also thanked Amarillo Police Department officers, the District Attorney’s office, and the local headquarters of the FBI.
The investigation into the shootings is ongoing, according to Birkenfeld, with ‘hundreds of hours’ of work left in store for officers. Police are still searching for the gun used during the shootings.
Regarding the death of Laura Etta Ashley, 62, during the string of shootings, Birkenfeld updated that while the investigation was ongoing officers believed there to be a connection to the arrested Winfield. While police stressed that the case had not been completed, Ashley’s family was contacted and updated.
As officers continue to work toward a resolution in the case, Birkenfeld commented that ‘we know violent crime is an issue right now,’ and that law enforcement would keep working to prevent the violent acts, and hold those responsible accountable.
Generally, police have reported the city of Amarillo has seen a distinct rise in violent crime and homicides throughout 2021, breaking a 20 year record. Cpl. Jeb Hilton with the Amarillo Police Department said the city’s homicide average is 15-to-16 homicides a year. So far in 2021, there have been over 20.
Sept. 6 saw Amarillo police responding to six shootings within 24 hours, two of which involved deaths and five of which had been on Amarillo’s north side.
The shootings of Monday, Sept. 6:
- 12:05 A.M. – APD officers were called to the 900 block of Heather on a drive-by shooting, where a 17 year-old was shot in his upper body while driving his vehicle. He was taken to a local hospital with non life-threatening injuries.
- 12:36 A.M. – APD officers responded to the 1300 block of Aster. A 20 year-old victim was driving in the 1000 block of Eastern Street and the suspect vehicle came up beside him and began to shoot. The victim’s vehicle was hit, but he was not injured.
- 12:41 A.M. – APD officers responded to the area of NE 20th Avenue and Iris Street. A 48 year-old victim told officers she was driving on NE 20th Avenue when the suspect vehicle drove beside her and began to fire into the driver’s side of her car. She was not injured.
- 8:20 P.M. – APD officers responded to the 6700 block of NE 19th avenue. A 52 year-old victim told officers that she was followed by the suspect vehicle to that area when someone in the vehicle fired shots at her, hitting her vehicle. She was not injured.
- 9:21 P.M. – APD officers were called to the intersection of NW 15th Avenue and Monroe Street. A 62 year-old woman was found dead in her vehicle by officers, and was reported to have been shot while driving.
The first four incidents happened in the same neighborhood, according to APD’s Corporal Jeb Hilton, and all of the victims described the suspect vehicle as a dark-colored four-door sedan with bright headlights.
A video was released by the APD on Sept. 28, showing what was believed to be the suspect vehicle from the shootings.
The investigation remains in progress. Check back with MyHighPlains.com for the latest coverage.