Man in custody after hourslong SWAT standoff at pawn shop in east Houston

Joseph Michael Rivera, 18, was arrested after a SWAT standoff on Dec. 29, 2019. (Image from Houston Police Department) (Houston Police Department, KPRC)

A man is in custody after he barricaded himself in an east Houston pawn shop early Sunday morning, leading to an hours-long SWAT standoff, according to an official with the Houston Police Department.

The situation began at around 1 a.m. when Houston police received a call regarding an alarm at a pawn shop in the 1200 block of Federal road.

When officers arrived at the scene, they met with the shop’s owner, who was standing outside the business with a shotgun.

The owner said he rushed to the pawnshop after receiving a call from his alarm company. When he arrived, he noticed a small hole cut into the side of the building. Upon seeing this, he grabbed his shotgun and maintained cover on the hole until law enforcement arrived, HPD SWAT Commander Larry Baimbridge said.

Officers looked into the hole and discovered a man, later identified as 18-year-old Joseph Michael Rivera, attempting to climb through it. Rivera was wielding a gun and lugging a bag filled with other weapons. Police say he retreated back into the shop and barricaded himself inside for several hours, Baimbridge said.

“He was trying to be the 2019 hide-and-go-seek champion,” Baimbridge said. “He hid up in the attic and, unfortunately for him, our K-9 Keno is the reigning champion and located him.”

With K-9 Keno’s help, police removed Rivera from the pawn shop and took him into custody, officials say.

“He’ll be going to jail for burglary of a business and possibly felon in possession of a weapon,” Baimbridge said.

Investigators suspect the man chipped through some cinderblock to enter the pawn shop.

About the Author:

Briana Zamora-Nipper joined the KPRC 2 digital team in 2019. When she’s not hard at work in the KPRC 2 newsroom, you can find Bri drinking away her hard earned wages at JuiceLand, running around Hermann Park, listening to crime podcasts or ransacking the magazine stand at Barnes & Noble.