AUSTIN, TX — An arrest has been made after a local park ranger was pushed into the water at Lake Austin while trying to enforce physical distancing guidelines to blunt the spread of new coronavirus last week.
Brandon Hicks, 25, has been charged with attempted assault on a public service worker and damage of city property after the park rangers' radio was compromised after he was pushed into the water at Lake Austin on Thursday. Hicks subsquently was released from Travis County Jail the following day on a personal recognizance bond, according to jail records.
The arrest stems from an incident at the Commons Ford park housing Lake Austin that was widely shared on social media after revelers recorded the incident on cell phone video. The footage shows a park ranger standing near the edge of the lake while advising crowds to maintain a six-foot buffer between each other — a measure seen as an effective way to blunt the spread of new coronavirus for which there is no vaccine.
As he instructs park attendees on the safety measure, a man is seen rushing the park ranger to push him into the water. Hicks fled the scene before being captured.
The incident occurred during the first week of a partial reopening of the state economy ordered by Gov. Greg Abbott on April 27. Despite the execuive order, health officials continue to urge residents to adhere to physical distancing safeguards while wearing protective face covering to mitigate the spread of illness.
Despite the advice from health officials, there have been numerous anectodal reports of people descending to area waterways while defying the safety tips. Virtually to a person, those hittting area lakes after the partial reopening of the state can be seen sans masks and violating physical distancing standards.