The contractors working for the Austin Code Department had been mowing the lawn of a home in an upscale neighborhood for an hour on Wednesday when bullets suddenly began flying from inside the house.
What had begun as a routine enforcement of a local ordinance quickly devolved into a five-hour standoff, police said.
By the end of the day, the resident was dead and his house engulfed in flames.
This wasn’t the first trip city officials had made to deal with the unkempt yard on Pinkney Lane. It was an “ongoing issue” and officials had tried to fix it several times before, Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon said during a Wednesday evening news conference. But the problem persisted, which led them to get the warrant “to make sure there wasn’t any further safety consideration for that house, for other houses, and go ahead and mow the grass,” the chief said.