Man in standoff fires at officers
Resident ‘went off the rails.’ No one injured; police didn’t return fire.
Froy Salinas was awoken early Saturday by a reverse 911 call warning of suspicious activity in his South Austin neighborhood. Shortly after, he heard what sounded like banging on the walls of his home and called police, he said.
The 911 call-taker told him officers were already at the scene, and when he walked outside, he recounted hours later, he saw police cars everywhere.
A SWAT officer came into his home about 5 a.m. and told Salinas and his wife they would have to evacuate. They were loaded onto a Capital Metro bus down the street, where they waited for three hours until a police standoff next door to their home on Harpers Ferry Lane had ended.
Salinas said it was nearing dawn when officers finally took his neighbor of 30 years into custody.
The man, who has not been identified, had fired shots at officers and was forced from his home by tear gas, officials said.
“I don’t know what happened,” said Salinas, who described his neighbors as good people. “He went off the rails.”
According to senior police officer Bino Cadenas, the incident
began at 2:38 a.m. when authorities received a call from someone who was browsing social media and came across a Facebook post with video showing a friend having a “mental breakdown.”
In the video, Cadenas said, the person asked for someone to send help.
Officers responded to the 3600 block of Harpers Ferry Lane, near Brodie Lane and William Cannon Drive, and tried to get the man to come out of his house, Cadenas said.
“He refused and made a threat, saying he had a weapon and would shoot anyone on his property,” Cadenas said.
Police called in a helicopter and SWAT negotiators and at 3:48 a.m. began hearing shots being fired from a handgun inside the residence, Cadenas said. About 10 minutes later, he said, more shots were fired from a shotgun.
Officers said the man was firing on them. That’s when a SWAT team arrived to evacuate the neighbors, loading them onto buses nearby, Cadenas said.
About 6:30 a.m., Cadenas said, the man was forced out of his home by officers using tear gas. He was arrested in his backyard and taken to the hospital to be evaluated and will be charged with aggravated assault on a public servant, he said.
Police did not return fire during the incident, and no one was injured.
Officials said multiple weapons were found inside the home and that the man was there alone, though his wife did come to the scene and was cooperating. Neighbors were allowed to return to their houses early Saturday.
Salinas said he had lost a few hours of sleep but was glad no one was hurt. “It really scared everyone,” he said.
Austin police and forensics teams investigate the scene where a man barricaded himself inside his home on Harpers Ferry Lane and then fired on police Saturday. The man faces a charge of aggravated assault on a public servant.