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Crime & Courts

Man falls to death from crane in police standoff on Texas college campus

Dallas Crane Standoff.jpg

An armed man reportedly barricaded himself inside the cab of this crane on the SMU campus. (

A man dangled from the cab of a 150-foot construction crane before falling to his death early Tuesday at a college campus in Dallas, ending a more than 14-hour standoff, police said.

The man, whose name has not been released, had spent a sweltering afternoon on the crane at the Southern Methodist University campus at University Park, fully exposed to the blazing sun with temperatures in the low 90s. He warned officers that he was armed and would shoot anyone who approached him.

Two police tactical officers who climbed the crane discovered he had sprayed a greasy substance "similar to WD-40" in the area near the cab, preventing them from reaching him, said Deputy Chief Randy Blankenbaker.

The man, who climbed the crane around noon Monday, pulled himself out of the cab and briefly hung from the crane -- holding on with just his hands -- before dropping to his death at 1:47 a.m. Tuesday.

"The suspect is deceased," Sr. Cpl. Melinda Gutierrez said. Police did not say if any weapon had been recovered.

Police were investigating if the man was involved in the theft of a truck before the standoff at the crane began. Kent Best, an SMU spokesman, said the man in the crane was a suspect fleeing from Dallas police.

His name was not immediately released.

The University campus was closed for Memorial Day, but reopened Tuesday.

The crane is being used for campus housing projects.

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