Woman accused of shooting and killing neighbour after bouncy castle stolen

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Police said they received a call about shots being fired at an address in Austin at 8.10 am on November 1. When they arrived at the scene, they found a man with multiple gunshot wounds.

Nora Lee Lopez is facing first-degree murder charges after police said she shot her neighbour, James Traylor, multiple times.

The 52-year-old victim was taken to hospital where he succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead at about 9.11 am.

A witness told police that an altercation broke out between Mr Traylor and a female neighbour over the alleged theft of a “bouncy house”.

The argument ended when the woman shot him multiple times and fled the scene, according to the witness.

Neighbours who spoke with local station KXAN described hearing multiple shots and said children were nearby when it happened.

An anonymous neighbour said: “I don’t want to see the world like this, I don’t want to see people keep dying.

“They’re doing things with guns that they can’t change.”

“It’s going to live with them for the rest of their life,” the neighbour said.

Witnesses said Ms Lopez fled from the scene immediately after the shooting.

Ms Lopez turned herself into the Austin Police Department on Friday after police issued a warrant for her arrest for the murder.

Mr Traylor’s death was Austin’s 77th homicide of 2021.

Murders in the city jumped 64 percent from the first six months of 2019 to the same time period in 2020, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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The rise of crime follows a national trend as homicides increased 30 percent around the country, the largest single-year increase the FBI has recorded since it began tracking crimes back in the Sixties.

Homicides in the US are surging in 2021 after jumping to 19,400 in 2020, on a wave of gun violence, sending criminologists searching for answers and local leaders and US policymakers scrambling for solutions.

“It really surged immediately after the murder of George Floyd,” said Thomas Abt, a senior fellow at the Council on Criminal Justice, a non-partisan organisation that advocates for reforms. “It’s sort of a perfect storm.”

The numbers from major US cities are grim. Chicago, the US’s third-largest city, is on pace to have its worst murder rate in 25 years, with 649 people killed as of mid-October.

In Houston, the US’s fourth-largest city, police have tracked 339 homicides so far this year, an increase over last year’s rate of killings.

The nation’s capital, Washington, DC, with 183 killed so far this year, will surpass last year’s murder toll if killings continue at the same pace.

One source estimates that American civilians own 393 million guns, ranking the U.S. number one in firearms per capita.

About 40 percent of Americans say they or someone in their household owns a gun, and 22 percent of individuals (about 72 million people) report owning a gun.

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