Man walking his dog shot, killed when he interrupted burglary, police in Austin believe

A Texas man was walking his dog in the early hours of Monday morning when he was fatally shot and investigators believe a man burglarizing cars pulled the trigger.

Someone called deputies just before 4 a.m. Monday for a welfare check on Amarillo Avenue in northwest Austin. A man in his 40s was found with gunshot wounds lying unresponsive in the street.

Deputies began CPR and minutes later, Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services showed up to help, the sheriff’s office said. The man eventually died at the scene.

Detectives arrested a 36-year-old man named William Daniels Monday afternoon on a murder charge, according to the Austin American Statesman, part of the USA TODAY Network.

Daniels’ lawyer did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“This is a perfect example of why I’m so proud of the men and women of TCSO. Once again, their teamwork and solid investigative skills came together to keep our community safe,” Sheriff Sally Hernandez said in a news release.

Investigators saw suspect vehicle speeding away from scene on security footage

Investigators made an arrest after reviewing security footage and finding a handprint on the victim’s work truck.

An arrest warrant obtained by USA TODAY identified the victim as 49-year-old Stephen Peterman.

The warrant said a deputy patrolling the area found the man unresponsive and suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to his torso. He tried to resuscitate the man and eventually EMS showed up to help. The man was pronounced dead at 4:22 a.m., according to the arrest warrant.

The man's wife came out of the home and identified him. She said he often took the family's dog for a walk during the early morning hours.

She noted the sound of gunshots and said she looked around the house for her husband. That’s when she opened the home’s front door and saw their dog sitting by the door, the warrant said.

A detective responded to the scene and found six pistol casings on the ground near the victim's body, as well as a work truck parked on the curb with a window busted out. The investigator checked surveillance video from a home nearby, which captured the sound of 6 gunshots, as well as a red hatchback vehicle speeding away from the scene, the arrest warrant read.

The Crime Scene Unit processed the work truck at the scene and found a palm print, then used law enforcement databases to identify the person who left the palmprint. The print led them to Daniels, who also owns a 2012 Hyundai Veloster hatchback like the one captured on surveillance footage.

A detective wrote in the arrest warrant that she believes the victim exited his home to walk his dog around 3:50 a.m. and interrupted the suspect breaking into his company work truck.

The detective also added that she thinks the suspect "intentionally and knowingly shot Stephen Peterman multiple times on May 20, 2024, causing his death."

Victim’s family can’t believe he is gone

The victim’s sister, Hannah Smith, told CBS Austin that it doesn’t seem real he is gone.

"He's not part of our lives anymore," she told the outlet, adding that because the suspect had previous run-ins with the law, he shouldn’t have been walking freely. "He shouldn't have still been out on the streets.”

Online records obtained by USA TODAY show that Daniels was arrested four times between October 2005 and September 2017 for theft, robbery and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.

"Ultimately that man is responsible for his actions, he's responsible for what he did," Peterman's sister told CBS Austin, "I hope and pray that justice is served to the fullest extent of the law."

Contributing: Bianca Moreno-Paz, Austin American-Statesman

Saleen Martin is a reporter on USA TODAY's NOW team. She is from Norfolk, Virginia – the 757. Follow her on Twitter at @SaleenMartin or email her at

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Austin shooting death of dog-walker blamed on car burglar, police say