April 13, 2021 07:11

2 dead in Austin after SWAT standoff at local children’s medical center

Hojun Choi and Tony Plohetski

Austin American-Statesman

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin police said two people were found dead after authorities made entry into a building involved in a reported hostage situation in Central Austin on Tuesday night.

The hostage situation was reported around 4:30 p.m. Central time and took place at a doctor’s office near the intersection of 35th Street and Jackson Avenue.

After several hours of trying to reach the people inside the building, the Austin Police Department had a robot unit go inside, where it identified a victim, officials said.

The SWAT team then decided to enter the building and found two people dead inside, officials said.

It was immediately unclear whether the two people found dead were the only ones involved in the incident. Authorities did not provide any other additional details Tuesday night.

Hours earlier, SWAT negotiators could be heard calling out on a bullhorn to the hostage taker urging the person to answer calls or text messages on their phone.

“Your life is very important to me,” a member of the SWAT team said over the loudspeaker. “And I know life is very important to you.”

The SWAT team’s attempts to communicate with the people inside, which could be heard in the surrounding areas, also suggested that an Austin doctor was one of the hostages and that another doctor was the hostage taker.

“You don’t deserve to go through this … for all you have done for others … that is why I want to help you work through this. You have saved a lot of lives,” a hostage negotiator could be heard saying over the loudspeaker.

Some residents near the area were evacuated and others were asked to stay inside their homes. While the negotiating efforts were taking place, some neighbors could be seen standing in nearby corners listening to the communications over the bullhorn.

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