HOUSTON – A man has surrendered Monday after an hourslong standoff at a gas station in southwest Houston.
The incident unfolded at the Phillips 66 location at Gessner Road and the Southwest Freeway on Monday afternoon and lasted more than three hours, according to police.
Houston police said an armed man was holed up in his vehicle and appeared to be in crisis. Witnesses told KPRC 2 that the man was pointing a gun at his head and looked “out of it” and “stressed.”
“I was getting gas ... I saw him,” said Julius Cockerham, a witness who said he alerted gas station staff. “He just had the gun towards his head,”
HPD’s SWAT team, Hostage Negotiations Team, Crisis Management Team and doctors and officers worked to bring the situation to a safe conclusion.
“At any time, he could have shot in a direction,” said HPD Tactical Operations Division Commander Howard.
Police temporarily shut down the north and southbound lanes of South Gessner during the incident, while police teams worked to coax the man out.
“We really tried our best to get this person to come out with nothing in his hands so that we could get him some help,” Howard said. “He did not do that.”
After multiple attempts and witnesses watching, police had one of the man’s loved ones talking to him to convince the man to get out of the car.
“He appeared to have some reaction,” Howard said. “We really weren’t having any reaction prior to that.”
After several attempts to get the man to surrender, police made a decision.
“Ultimately, when the opportunity presented itself, we used chemical munitions,” Howard said. “We deployed that in the vehicle. At that point, the male exited the vehicle. However, the gun was still in his hand.”
Howard said SWAT officers continued to use chemical munitions and the man eventually dropped the gun. Officers moved in and took him into custody.
“We did use a canine because he also, in addition to his firearm, also had a knife in his possession,” Howard said. “And so, we used the dog to make initial contact to secure him. We were able to get him in handcuffs. Doctors immediately came in, treated him, provided a preliminary assessment. It appears there were no significant injuries. He had two dog bites and of course marks from the chemical ammunition, but otherwise, he’s going to recover from all those wounds.”
The man was taken on a stretcher and placed into an ambulance.
“The man was transferred to a local hospital and will get the help he needs,” Howard said.
Witness Tinh Nguyen said the police showed restraint.
“The law enforcement here -- they did the best and professionalism to making sure he didn’t do more with what was to be expected,” Nguyen said. “The guy’s alive and they did a good job.”
Howard said he doesn’t believe any criminal charges will be filed against the man at this time.