Austin Paper Seeks Witnesses And Images Of Deadly Beating by Mob

By: Joe Strupp As police in Austin, Texas investigate the tragic murder of a local man who was apparently beaten to death by an angry group after the car he was in struck a child, the Austin American-Statesman is using its Web site to find witnesses and images of the incident.

In yet another example of the growing practice of newspaper Web sites to seek information, video and photos from readers, the paper has posted a request asking for witnesses to come forward with information or visual images of the crime that occurred Tuesday night during the city's Juneteenth Celebration.

"We solicit reader participation," said Managing Editor Fred Zipp. "It is a new tool to achieve an old end, finding out what happened."

The requests were posted along with the paper's story, which reported that David Rivas Morales, 40, died after being transported to a local hospital following the incident. He was a passenger in the vehicle, which reportedly struck a child in a parking lot near the festival, but did not cause life-threatening injuries.

"Witnesses told investigators that a group of men assaulted Morales when he stepped out of the car to try to stop the crowd from assaulting the driver," the paper reported. "The driver, who has not yet been identified, was able to leave the area in the car. Police later found him and the car."

Zipp said the incident was reported too late to make the print edition today, but was the lead story on the Web site and is expected it to be a Page One story on Thursday. He said any information or images submitted to the Web site would be moderated and reviewed before any postings.


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