A crane about 150-feet high recently went up on the SMU campus for the construction of new student housing. But Monday morning, an unidentified man broke into the site and climbed into the cab of the crane.
“We were informed at approximately 11:30 and immediately at that point took measures to inform any of the buildings in the area”, said Brad Cheves, an SMU spokesman.
Since Monday was Memorial Day, only a few students were on campus.
But SMU police were notified and food out the man may possibly be armed.
“SMU police went to the location, were able to contact him and at that time that’s when he informed that he had a weapon and if they got any closer he was going to shoot”, said Senior Corporal Melinda Gutierez with the Dallas Police Department.
Dallas police took over and began blocking off streets near the university. Mockingbird west of Central Expressway was blocked off down to Hillcrest. A nearby strip mall was also shutdown as a safety precaution.
“We see all the cops out here, we didn’t know why it was all blocked off and we’re just trying to get up north but we got to find another way now”, said Nate Koeneman who lives nearby.
SWAT team members and negotiators were brought in to talk the man down.
“With it being a construction site they did have a radio up there and the construction site was notified by SMU police and they were able to get radios from the construction crew to be able to communicate with him on the crane”, Gutierrez said.
Police have not been able to verify if the man has a gun, but no shots have been fired.
Power to the crane was cut so the man could not operate it. He also has no air conditioning or water. Police were hoping the 90 plus degree heat would force him down.
Meanwhile, people who live and work in the area are left wondering how long this will last.
“Really it’s crazy. I’ve seen a lot of chases and I’ve never seen one end up quite like this”, said Tyler Good.
“It’s pretty typical. Dallas is a big city and crazy stuff happens all the time”, said Mark Baker.
There are reports that the man in the crane was involved in a carjacking early Monday morning where a truck was stolen. Police say they cannot confirm if the suspect in the carjacking is the same man holed up in the crane.