ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — A man is in critical condition Monday after he was found unresponsive by a SWAT team robot following a mental health crisis at a home in Round Rock.
Round Rock Police Department Lt. Tom Sloan said police received a call from a man’s family member around noon Monday saying the man was suicidal at his home in the 2300 block of Vernell Way. When police responded, Sloan said officers saw “what they believed to be potential explosive devices.”
Sloan said a SWAT robot went into the home in order to communicate with the man, and that’s when he was found unresponsive. Sloan said the man didn’t have any obvious signs of trauma to his body but was unresponsive and breathing. The man was taken to an area hospital area by Williamson County EMS. Sloan said the person was a Black man in his mid-to-late 30s.
Police said all devices were determined to not be a threat.
“A several-hour investigation started and resulted — with what I would like to remind everyone — with the most positive outcome we could have,” Sloan said. “That is the hallmark of a community that supports police department, equips its SWAT team very well and allows for the SWAT team to be highly trained.”
Neighbors unable to go home for hours
The investigation temporarily shut down roadways and forced evacuations near Jester Farms Park and Hernandez Middle School after police said there were reports of explosives at a home. But roads have since reopened, and residents are able to return home, Round Rock police tweeted around 7:15 p.m.
Some were out of their homes for several hours, including Sheila Hughes, who left her 15-year-old granddaughter home to get an oil change, but couldn’t get back into the subdivision.
“She wants somebody to come get her, but I asked the officers to go and get her out, but they said they’re stretched thin, that they don’t have anybody to go get her out,” Hughes said.
A spokesperson for RRPD said a few dozen homes were evacuated, but there were still people inside their homes in the subdivision.
Hughes said she lived on the 2300 block of Vernell Way, the same area where the incident was unfolding.
“I’m literally so scared. I need somebody to be with me, so I can get out. I don’t want to do this alone!” her granddaughter told Hughes over the phone.
“I know, baby girl, but there may not be anybody that can be with you,” Hughes responded.
“I’m really upset, because, I mean, it’s my granddaughter!” Hughes told KXAN. “I lost my son in 2020, and that’s his only child. And so, I took her on, and … I don’t know, you know.”
Ricardo Lopez came home to a blocked off entrance after being at work since 3:30 a.m.
“I want to get home and relax, rest. But I can’t,” he said.
He added he was concerned for his other neighbors, too.
“I’m blessed but you know, there’s other people here they need their medicine, or they have their kids inside of the house. It’s just bad,” Lopez said.
The Allen R. Baca Center was temporarily open to evacuees.
The Austin Police Department bomb squad was at the scene, as well as the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Williamson County Sheriff’s Office SWAT and the Central Texas Regional SWAT.
“I think it’s important to say again that the best possible outcome today was he was found still alive and transported,” Sloan said. “And for Round Rock Police Department and the community, our hearts go out to the family of this man who was experiencing emotional trauma today.”
If you or someone you know needs support or advice, you can go online to the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline to chat with a counselor or call 988. These resources are available 24/7.