A suspected armed robber plummeted 150 feet from a crane to his death early Tuesday, ending a 14-hour standoff on Southern Methodist University's Dallas campus.
The unidentified man was spotted hanging from the side of the crane. Around 1:45 a.m., authorities confirmed the armed suspect lost his grip and fell to the concrete. Dallas police said the man was involved in an armed truck robbery in downtown Dallas about 24 hours prior to his death, reported WFAA.
The suspect is deceased, Senior Cpl. Melinda Gutierrez said, reported the Associated Press.
The man, whose name has not been released, had spent Memorial Day afternoon on top of the crane at the Southern Methodist University campus at University Park. He threatened police officers, saying that he was armed and would not hesitate to shoot anyone who approached him.
His statement to SMU police was that he did have a weapon, so they're treating it as an armed suspect, Gutierrez said at a midafternoon news conference, reported WFAA. At this time, we cannot confirm whether or not he is armed.
Around 1 a.m., Dallas police used bright lights, sirens and police helicopter to distract the man as emergency service units approached the crane's operation control booth, where he had been holed up. But he reportedly sprayed WD-40 motor oil or a similar product at the entrance to the control booth, making it difficult to for police officers to enter. He then smashed the windows of the control booth, reported NBC.
He retreated to a position in the crane where he had one leg in a window and one leg outside the window, from there he went over the edge, and clung to the edge for a moment before he fell to his death, said Dallas Deputy Chief Randy Blankenbaker, reported NBC.
SMU was grateful none of their students, faculty or police officers was injured.
We at SMU are relieved this situation has been resolved and the campus is secure. We all regret the loss of life, said SMU spokesman Brad Cheves, reported MSNBC.
Hours after the standoff, police were unable to confirm if the man was actually armed with a weapon. Authorities are still investigating the incident.
For the entire 14 hours the man did not operate the crane, which was on campus to build new dorm rooms and a dining hall, because it did not have power. This means that the suspect endured temperatures that exceeded 90 degrees the entire time without any air conditioning.
I don't know how he can make it up there without air conditioning, said local resident Tyler Good, reported WFAA.
Early Tuesday, police confirmed the man was wanted for a potential armed robbery of an armored car from the parking lot of the Adolphus Hotel in the 1300 block of Commerce Street at 2:20 a.m. Monday. He was apparently fleeing arrest when he climbed the crane.
He kind of looked over to his side before he swung his arm at me with a sharp object, said David Cantu, who operated the vehicle. For the most part, I just backed off and let him do his thing, hoping maybe we could get the truck back.
Cantu said the man took off with the truck, hitting several parked cars as he fled the scene.
You hear a big bang multiple times, he said. He's hitting multiple cars at that point.
The stolen truck was found near the crane.