East Austin SWAT standoff ends peacefully

A suicidal man is in custody after a standoff that forced a local college to be locked down.

Austin Police said the SWAT team standoff ended without them having to use deadly force.

Someone called police around 2:50 P.M. after seeing a man standing in a field with what they believed was a pistol. 

Austin Police responded to the call and tried to negotiate with the man, but he refused to surrender for a few hours. 

Police filled the street Wednesday afternoon near the intersection of Tillery and Neal in East Austin. 

“My boyfriend texted me there was a lockdown, so I instantly locked the doors and looked out the window and saw the cops and then I was listening out my back window and heard them talking over the bullhorn,” said Celina Lenic, who lives across the street from the field. 

Austin Police said they responded to a call that an armed man was alone in a nearby field.

“Patrol officers arrived and located the subject and have made contact with him. Through that communication it was determined he might be suicidal and was not giving up to officers,” Sgt. Anthony Hipolito, with the Austin Police Department, said. 

 Police used a bomb robot to speak with the man, who they determined to be suicidal. 

They say he responded to them and made a few demands, but refused to surrender to officers.

Meanwhile, officers worked with the Govalle Elementary School to protect students at after school activities. 

Students and faculty at the Austin Community College Eastview campus were on lockdown. 

“I think they handled it pretty well. They brought a lot of people out to make sure the neighborhood would be locked down and the situation was going to get handled and controlled in a controlled environment basically,” Lenic said. 

At 5 P.M. officers saw their chance to end the standoff.

“The subject at Tillery and Neal was taken into custody. The subject was in negotiations with SWAT team members and officers. He was not complying, at which time one of the SWAT officers deployed less lethal impact rounds. The subject fell to the ground and was given federal orders by the SWAT team members. He complied and stayed on the ground, crawled and complied with every order the SWAT team gave him,” Hipolito said. 

Austin Police fired bean bags to take the man into custody. The lockdown at nearby schools was lifted. Police said they did locate a firearm on the suicidal man. 

“If criminal charges are appropriate, that's something we'll look into, but if he's suicidal, we'll get a mental health officer to evaluate him and get him the help that he needs,” Hipolito said. 

Neighbors said the usually quiet neighborhood was shook up by the lockdown, but they were happy the man was helped and not hurt. 

“I hope that he gets well and figures out why he wanted to do what he was going to do,” Lenic said. 

Streets that were shut down during the standoff opened around 5 P.M. No one else was injured. 

Police said the man's identity will only be released if he is charged with a crime, but they don't expect that to happen.

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