FIRST ON FOX: The mother of a man killed in one of the most high-profile mass shooting in recent Austin, Texas, history sent a blistering letter to the city council that defunded police in 2020, which she says contributed to the lawlessness that claimed her son’s life.
“Aug 28th in Austin TX there will be jury selection for the murder of my son Douglas Kantor and the attack on 14 others for the June 12th 2021 mass shooting on 6th street,” Julia Kantor wrote in an email obtained by Fox News Digital to all Austin City Council members last week shortly before her son’s alleged killer, De’Ondre White, went on trial for murder.
Jury selection concluded on Monday, followed by opening statements on Tuesday. The ongoing trial is expected to take roughly two weeks.
“I hope you will follow this [trial] as your duty to your citizens,” Kantor continued in her letter. “It was you, the city council and others who defunded the police and welcomed these evil people with no regard for life to run and ruin your city.”
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Douglas Kantor was killed in 2021 after being caught in the crossfire of a gang shooting. (Kantor family)
Douglas Kantor, then 25 and working for Ford Motor Co., was visiting Austin from Michigan in June 2021 to celebrate with friends after earning his master’s degree when two rival gangs of teenagers from Killeen, Texas, opened fire on each other in the city’s packed 6th Street entertainment and nightlife hub.
Kantor, a New York native who had just bought a new home and was set to marry his high school sweetheart, was killed in the shooting. Thirteen other innocent bystanders were injured in the hail of bullets from both gangs that became the largest mass casualty incident in Austin in about a decade.
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Family members, friends, and Austin, Texas, community members release balloons in memory of Douglas Kantor in Downtown Austin, Texas, on June 12, 2022. Douglas was killed in a shooting on 6th Street on June 13, 2021 while visiting Austin. (Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK)
The incident came roughly a year after the Austin City Council voted to defund the police amid the unrest following the death of George Floyd in the summer of 2020.
Critics of that move have long maintained that the spike in crime that followed, which included Austin setting an all-time record for homicides in 2021, was due at least in part to the defunding and alienating of police.
Although the police budget has since been refunded, mass retirements and the slashing of cadet classes caused a police shortage where the department is hundreds of officers short, experts say.
“It’s time you see what you have done to not only the victims like my son but also to our family and friends and your city,” Julia Kantor wrote. “Your irresponsible choices for political gain has put a target on the backs of Austin’s citizens and all who visit.”
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Doug Kantor, 25, was caught in the crossfire of an Austin, Texas, gang shooting in June 2021. (Kantor Family)
“You have killed and ruined thousands of lives and couldn’t care less as long as you stay in power,” she wrote. “Just like the killer, you are ALL COWARDS. NONE OF YOU HAD THE GUTS TO SPEAK UP AND POINT OUT HOW STUPID AND DESTRUCTIVE THAT WAS. I’M SURE IF YOUR KIDS WERE BEING KILLED YOU WOULD FIND YOUR VOICE.”
Julia’s son and Douglas’s brother, Nicklaus Kantor, told Fox News Digital that his mother’s letter received no responses.
“I don’t think any of us have any delusions that one of these council members is going to be like, Oh, we’re so sorry, we did it on purpose,” Nicklaus Kantor told Fox News Digital. “You know, they’re not going to admit and take responsibility. But at least acknowledge the loss at the very least.”
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“Remember what goes around comes around in different ways,” Julia Kantor’s letter concluded. “Look at the last photo. This is the animal you released on my son and the people of Texas without a thought.”
Fox News Digital reached out to the city council members who voted to defund the police in 2020 and did not immediately receive a response.
The third day of the murder trial is set to begin Thursday morning.