Dyess AFB Airman Takes His Own Life in Standoff with Police
ABILENE, TX — Who was described as a senior Non-Commissioned Officer assigned to Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene called 9-1-1. A fellow airman he was attempting to get help for was soon dead following a 20-minute dramatic standoff with Abilene Police that ended when the airman took his own life.
According to Abilene Police Chief Stan Standridge, the Abilene police were dispatched to the 1400 block of Lawyer’s Ln. where someone reported a subject was threatening to take his own life. Officers went to the front door of the residence and knocked. No one came to the door, but police saw through the windows of the residence a male holding a scoped rifle.
Abilene police retreated to cover behind their vehicles the front of the house while other officers established a perimeter around the location.
The officers had arrived at 12:10 a.m. Saturday morning, Standridge said. At 12:25 a.m., the subject in the house emerged into the front yard carrying the rifle and a holstered handgun in his waistband, Standridge said. Meanwhile, the police at their Chevy Tahoe vehicles had spotlights trained on the house and the subject, blinding him. The airman shouted that he was “looking for police,” Standridge said.
“He pointed the rifle numerous times at officers,” Standridge said. Then the armed subject moved towards the roadway while pointing his rifle towards officers.
As the drama was being broadcasted over the police radio, a SWAT team supervisor who was on his way home from work and wearing what Standridge said was a “soft uniform” responded with a long rifle.
By this time, the armed subject had transitioned to the driveway where he procured an 85-gallon trash cart to use as a shooting platform. Upon arrival, the SWAT team supervisor set up 125 yards away with a scoped rifle and placed the armed subject in his sight. The subject was behind the improvised shooting platform with his rifle directly trained on the police officers behind their Tahoes, Standridge said.
The SWAT supervisor squeezed the trigger and hit the airman in his “center mass,” Standridge explained. The subject was only injured, though knocked off his feet. He tried to retreat by crawling to hide in the nearby bushes.
Standridge said the Abilene police had direct cell phone communication with the subject. Officers pleaded with him to show his hands. “They said, ‘let me see your hands’,” Standridge said.
Moments later, there was a second shot, this time the sound was coming from where the airman laid. Standridge said the airman shot himself in the head with his own rifle and died at the scene.
The name, age, exact rank and any other identifying information about the airman are being withheld pending notification of next-of-kin. None of the airman’s family resides in the Abilene area, so notification of his family will be accomplished by the U.S. Air Force.
Several investigations of the incident are now in progress. The U.S. Air Force OSI is conducting one and the Texas Rangers are conducting a concurrent investigation while the Abilene PD works on a criminal investigation of the subject and an officer-involved shooting internal investigation. The SWAT supervisor who fired the round and hit the subject was placed on administrative leave, per police department policy.
Standridge said the same airman was involved in a rollover crash where the airman’s sobriety was a factor. At the crash that happened at 3:37 a.m. on Loop 322 at U.S. 84 in mid-October, the airman was injured but not officially charged with DWI at the scene. There has been an ongoing investigation of the incident and Standbridge said police did draw a blood sample at the hospital. Standridge said, “Some of his despondency issues are likely related to this incident.”
The U.S. Air Force frowns on DUI charges and implements its own punishment that runs concurrently with criminal sentences. In addition to charges in the Taylor County Court at Law, according to DUI policy described on af.mil, the airman could face sanctions from his military commander, including a letter of reprimand, an unfavorable information file that will end all hope of getting future promotions, ineligibility to deploy, and formal remedial training. Depending upon the job classification of the airmen being charged with a DUI, he or she could be forced to retrain into another military career field.
Standridge emphasized that the entire incident early this morning played out in just 20 minutes.
Correction: Previously we reported that a senior NCO took his own life. We discovered later that a senior NCO had called 9-1-1 to report a fellow airman who that NCO believed was a suicidal subject. It was the lower-ranking airman who had the standoff with police and took his own life.
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