The brother of a man tragically killed by gunfire in Austin, Texas, is pleading with the public not to use the incident to push for more gun control legislation, calling the politicization of his brother’s death “deeply disturbing.”
Douglas Kantor, 25, was struck in the abdomen by spray gunfire early Saturday morning in downtown Austin’s 6th street, a popular strip with bars and restaurants, after a dispute between two groups of teenagers turned violent.
Kantor, a Ford employee and recent college graduate, was visiting friends from Michigan when he was killed. His family said he suffered in the hospital for more than a day before succumbing to his injuries.
In all, 14 people were injured in the shooting, including many who were innocent bystanders. Two juvenile suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident.
In response to the shooting, Democratic politicians in the state renewed calls for increased gun control, particularly demanding Republican Gov. Greg Abbott to veto the state’s new “constitutional carry” bill, which allows for Texans to carry handguns in public without a permit.
But Kantor’s family, speaking with Fox News on Wednesday, decried the attempts to “politicize” Douglas’ death.
Family of shooting victim says politicizing his death is ‘disturbing’
“This was not a mass shooting,” Nick Kantor said. “This wasn’t somebody on top of a rooftop gunning people down for no reason. This was rival members of groups that were having a problem with each other and decided that they were going to have a standoff in the middle of a street party that my brother was attending, and my brother was caught in the crossfire.”
“This should not be used to politicize any sort of gun control,” he argued. “The fact that that’s what it seems like politicians are doing with this story is deeply disturbing to me and my family. This is the last thing we want. We want Doug’s story to be told for what it was and not politicized for some agenda.”
Instead, Nick Kantor blamed the city’s “defund the police” initiative for hurting law enforcement’s efforts to fight crime in the city.
Last summer, the Austin City Council unanimously approved a proposal to cut its police department budget by one-third — or $150 million — and reallocate those funds to increase abortion access, food programs, and “alternative forms of public safety.”
“This is a nationwide crisis,” Kantor said.
“Defunding the police just gives a false sense of security to those people who abide by the laws,” Kantor said. “My brother went out here seeing plenty of police presence in Austin and feeling safe, not realizing that there were gang members walking among him with guns.”