After several hours, a standoff at a Tyler hotel ended Tuesday afternoon with a man, who had locked himself in his pickup and refused to cooperate with law enforcement, being sent to a hospital in an ambulance.
The white male was wanted on a felony warrant on a parole violation when authorities initiated a traffic stop at about 3 p.m. Tuesday.
When sheriff’s deputies and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers attempted to stop the vehicle, the suspect pulled into the parking lot of the EconoLodge Inn and Suites on the north side of Loop 323.
Deputies were able to detain a female passenger, but the man locked himself inside the vehicle. The woman remained in custody Tuesday after the standoff ended, officials said.
The standoff came to an end just after 6 p.m. Smith County Sheriff’s Office public information officer Larry Christian said the suspect was in the back of an ambulance.
Christian said after negotiating with the suspect for hours, officers broke the vehicle’s back window and threw in a flash bang, which is used as a distraction device. He confirmed the man had firearms in the truck.
Trained negotiators from both the sheriff’s office and the Texas Department of Public Safety were on the phone with the man most of the time, Christian said.
“It became a time where we felt it was necessary to go ahead and make entry into the vehicle,” he said.
The DPS SWAT team and Smith County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team did a tactical operation on the vehicle, broke the glass and threw what’s commonly known as a flash bang into the vehicle.
When bang went off, law enforcement entered through the driver’s-side door and pulled the man out.
“He was just not willing to come out of the vehicle and the weapons that were available to him, and we were afraid he was going to commit suicide,” Christian said. “And we didn’t want that to happen and at that time we felt the communication was breaking down with him and it was time to take action.”
The sheriff’s office also used their drones during the standoff to see what the man was doing in the truck and keep officers safe.
“They were able to see in and keep us out of harm’s way,” Christian said.
Scanner traffic from the ambulance crew indicated the suspect may have taken pills or other drugs while in the vehicle. EMTs on the scanner said they administered Narcan to the man.
Christian said the sheriff’s office could not confirm the suspect using narcotics or use of Narcan.
Several bystanders watched from afar as the standoff unfolded through the afternoon.
Katasha Dewberry, of Tyler, who lives near the area, said she doesn’t see these types of events frequently. She came to the gas station across the street for gas, but could not leave due to the traffic being stopped on Loop 323.
Austin Peters, of Tyler, came to see what was going on. He lives about 6 miles from the hotel.
“This kind of thing is regular in the Dallas area, but not here,” Peters said. “It’s very rare.”
Agencies involved in the standoff included the sheriff’s office, Tyler Police Department, the DPS, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, medic care from Tyler Fire Department and UT Health East Texas.
Decisions on charges the man may face will be made later. The suspect may have minor glass cuts due to the window breaking, Christian said.
Christian said more information would be released Wednesday morning.
Traffic flow was interrupted during the standoff heading east on Loop 323 near the scene between U.S. Highway 69 and Corporate Drive. The traffic later resumed.