As new details emerge, husband of mother killed in Texas rampage says she died a ‘hero’
Written by ABC Audio. All rights reserved. on December 10, 2023
As newly filed court documents reveal horrific details in a multi-city Texas shooting rampage that left six people dead last week and a former U.S. Army officer under arrest on capital murder charges, a husband whose wife was among the victims said she died a “hero” saving their 18-month-old son.
Ishraq Islam described his wife, 24-year-old Sabrina Rahman, as an “angel,” saying she was killed while out for a walk with their son in their Austin neighborhood on Tuesday morning, a day after they moved into their new home.
Islam told Austin ABC affiliate KVUE that his wife witnessed the suspect, Shane James, gun down 32-year-old Emmanuel Pop Ba, a handyman who was helping them move into their new home, before she started to run from the assailant while pushing her baby’s stroller.
“She screamed. She went the opposite way. The gunman followed her, approached her. She threw my baby — she threw the stroller to the side towards the home. She saved his life. The gunman shot her, and he took off,” Islam said. “She got hit in the head, she collapsed. She’s a hero. She saved my son.”
Islam said his family has been “cut into a million pieces” by his wife’s killing, but added he plans to stay strong for their child.
“We’re going to show him how heroic his mom was and [how] she put her life, put everything on the line to save him,” Islam told KVUE. “And we’re going to make sure he has an amazing life.”
He said he, his wife and son moved to Austin about a year ago from Vancouver, British Columbia.
“We built two houses here and were ready to start our new lives in a good neighborhood,” Islam said. “It’s only been a year, and we came here for a fresh start. And then this happens.”
James, 34, was arrested Tuesday night and charged with capital murder following an hours-long shooting spree that authorities allege started in Bexar County, near San Antonio, where police found the bodies of his parents, 56-year-old Shane James Sr. and 55-year-old Phyllis James, according to Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar.
Salazar said investigators believe the parents were killed sometime between 10 p.m. on Dec. 4 and 9 a.m. on Dec. 5 in the home where their son lived with them.
The suspect then drove about 80 miles to Austin, where he allegedly continued the rampage at about 10:43 a.m. local time Tuesday, shooting a school resource officer in the leg near Northeast Early College High School, according to the Austin Police Department.
New details emerge in criminal affidavit
A criminal affidavit filed in the case on Saturday alleged James then drove to south Austin, where he killed Rahman and Ba at about 11:59 a.m. Tuesday.
About five hours later, James resurfaced, allegedly targeting a 39-year-old cyclist, who suffered a non-life-threatening gunshot wound, according to police.
Then just before 7 p.m. Tuesday, a homeowner on Austral Loop in Austin called 911 to report he was viewing a live feed of his home surveillance camera and saw a man breaking into his home, according to the new affidavit filed in the case. The homeowner told police his wife and special needs daughter were inside the house at the time, the affidavit states.
An Austin police detective, who was working as a uniformed patrol officer due to a staffing shortage, responded to the Austral Loop address and confronted the suspect in the backyard, according to the affidavit.
“The APD Detective ran to the back of the residence and the suspect began to shoot at the APD Detective. The APD Detective was struck multiple times by the suspect’s gunfire,” the affidavit alleges.
After shooting the detective, the suspect, later identified as James, allegedly stole a blue 2015 Acrua from the garage of the home and led police on a chase with speeds hitting 90 mph before the alleged perpetrator lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a car, according to the affidavit. Once James was taken into custody, officers found a .45 caliber handgun in James’ waistband and two ammunition magazines in his pocket, the affidavit alleges.
When police searched the Austral Loop home, they discovered 56-year-old Katherine Short and her 30-year-old daughter, Lauren Short, both suffering from gunshot wounds, according to the affidavit. Officers immediately rendered first aid, but both the mother and daughter were pronounced dead at the scene, the affidavit states.
A day after his arrest, James attempted to escape from the Travis County Jail, and deputies had to use force to subdue him, according to the affidavit. Details of the attempted escape were not disclosed.
“Based on the information obtained over the course of these investigations, we strongly believe one suspect is responsible for all of the incidents,” Interim Austin Police Chief Robin Henderson said at a news conference last week.
Salazar said his deputies in Bexar County had several encounters with James, including a Jan. 6, 2022, arrest on three misdemeanor counts stemming from an alleged assault on his parents and a sibling. Salazar said the James family did not believe he belonged in jail at the time and told authorities he suffered from mental health issues.
As part of James’ release from jail in 2022, he was required to wear an ankle monitoring device, according to Salazar. He said a day after James was released from jail, he cut off his ankle monitoring device, prompting misdemeanor warrants to be issued for his arrest.
Salazar said the last time deputies had contact with James was in August 2022 when his father asked deputies to intervene, claiming his “son was naked, he was acting out, had a mental health episode and was upstairs in his bedroom.”
The sheriff said deputies tried to talk James into coming out of his room but were limited by law in what they could do because James was only wanted at the time on misdemeanor warrants. Deputies left the house without arresting James and asked the father to call them when he came out of the bedroom, but deputies never got a callback, Salazar said.
Army spokesman Bryce Dubee confirmed to ABC News that James served as an infantry officer from February 2013 to August 2015. His records, according to Dubee, showed James had no deployments and separated from the service on Aug. 17, 2015, with the rank of first lieutenant.
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