In mid-June, Austin’s harmful city decisions and alarming rise in homicides were driven home when gang warfare erupted in the city’s iconic Sixth Street entertainment district, leaving 13 civilians injured and one dead. The mass shooting made national headlines, and Douglas Kantor, a 25-year-old tourist from New York, tragically saw his life cut short.

Now, Kantor’s family is speaking out.

In conjunction with Save Austin Now, a pro-public safety citizen group, the Kantor family has released the following video:


“Doug loved life,” said his mother. “He loved his girlfriend. … He helped everybody; I think he felt that was his mission.”

Doug’s girlfriend said, “We had just bought a house together, and we were ready to move onto that next chapter of our life and start a family soon and get married.”

Doug’s uncle commended the heroic efforts of the Austin Police Department officers who rushed Doug to the hospital while ensuring the survival of the other 13 victims.

“The Austin Police Department did more than I would’ve expected them to do. … The reason why my nephew was still alive when we got there was because of how they acted. They got him to the hospital themselves, so we had 24 hours to try to save his life.”

“I believe [the shooters] thought they were going to get away with it,” Doug’s brother said, “because the police were defunded, and there was no [anti-]gang unit to prevent this from happening.”

In 2020, the Democrat-run Austin City Council defunded the APD by up to $150 million (one-third of their budget), eroding the department’s staffing, suspending police cadet classes, and forcing numerous police units—such as DWI, family violence safety and stalking, and criminal interdiction—to disband.

The APD chief recently said the department is in a “dire situation,” with a growing wave of officers leaving the force, 911 response times becoming “dramatically slower,” and an estimate of hundreds of vacant officer positions.

Additionally, when the council recently resumed police cadet classes, their “reimagined training materials” were loaded with critical race theory.

Meanwhile, violent crime and homicides have exploded to record highs since last year.

In response, Save Austin Now recently finished a petition campaign (signed by more than 25,000 Austinites) to place a proposed public safety law on the November ballot. The law, if approved by voters, would restore adequate staffing to the police department and enact various reforms to APD.

Austinites will have a chance to weigh in on police defunding at the polls this fall.

Adam Cahn

Adam is a longtime conservative activist and an avid UT and Yankees fan.