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Three are arrested in ‘senseless, cowardly’ killing of airman in Texas

Members of the Clovis, N.M., Police Department's Special Weapons and Tactics team handcuff U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Daniel Santiago, 27th Special Operations Security Forces Squadron investigator, during a hostile threat exercise at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., June 20, 2012. (Airman 1st Class Eboni Reece/U.S. Air Force)

Three people have been arrested in the shooting death of an active-duty airman, the Cedar Park Police Department announced Monday.

Police Chief Sean Mannix described the “senseless, cowardly actions” that took the life of Airman 1st Class Austin Robert Burroughs on Jan. 20 as a random armed robbery in a safe area of town.

“His life was taken by a group that appears to have gone out with the sole purpose of robbing people at gunpoint that night,” Mannix said. So far, the three are also connected to two other armed robberies on Jan. 21 in Austin.

Cornelius Martin, Darius Burdett-Hornsby and Elanna Wilkes, all of Austin, were arrested Jan. 24 and Jan. 25 and were being held in Travis County Jail. They will be transported to neighboring Williamson County, where Cedar Park is located and where all three suspects are charged with murder, Mannix said.

Cedar Park is a northwestern suburb of Austin with a low violent crime rate. Mannix said in his six years with the police department, this is the first felony case with a death in which the individuals did not know each other. In 2018, only two homicides were reported, said Alicia Inns, police department spokeswoman.

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Burroughs, a cryptologic language analyst, joined the Air Force on May 30, 2017. He recently graduated from the Defense Language Institute at Presidio of Monterey, Calif., according to records from the Air Force Personnel Center. He was on temporary duty as a student with the 316th Training Squadron at Goodfellow Air Force Base near San Angelo, Texas, en route to his first duty assignment.

Burroughs and his wife are from Texas and private services were held in Pflugerville during the weekend.

On Jan. 20, police responded to a call of shot fired at 9:15 p.m. at the Lakeline Villas Apartments, and found Burroughs, 22, dead of a gunshot wound to the neck, Mannix said. He was pronounced dead at 9:30 p.m.

Burroughs and his wife, who lived at the complex, had just arrived there and he was shot as he exited the driver’s side of the vehicle, police said in the initial release of information following the incident. Mannix would not say Monday which suspect is believed to have pulled the trigger.

Video surveillance footage collected from a nearby business during the investigation showed a vehicle registered to Wilkes rapidly exiting the parking lot quickly after the time of the shooting, police said. The vehicle had a previous history of being connected to aggravated robberies, Mannix said.

Wilkes and Martin were arrested on warrants in a traffic stop in Killeen, Texas, on Jan. 24 and Burdett-Hornsby was arrested on warrants the next day.

Mannix, who said Burroughs had a “promising career in the Air Force,” wouldn’t comment on the condition of the Burroughs’ family, but he said the county’s victims services staff have been in contact with them.

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“I’m proud of the collective effort that is helping to honor Austin’s memory by bringing those believed to be responsible to the justice system,” he said.

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© 2019 the Stars and Stripes

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