Naked man at center of SWAT standoff now in custody after taking HPD robot inside hotel room: Police

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Tuesday, August 8, 2023
Naked man at center of SWAT standoff with robot arrested, charged: HPD
The standoff started early Tuesday at a Mustang Inn near the South Beltway. Video from the scene shows the suspect come out naked and drag a police robot inside.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A naked man is in custody after being at the center of a SWAT standoff at an inn in southeast Houston on Tuesday morning, police say.

Houston police were called just after 2 a.m. about a weapons disturbance at a Mustang Inn near the intersection of the South Beltway and Gulf feeder.

Cmdr. Craig Bellamy said the suspect was walking to different rooms with a pistol and what appeared to be either a large knife or a machete.

When officers arrived and tried to make contact, the suspect started screaming from inside one of the rooms. At one point, the suspect opened the door and officers thought they saw a pistol. That's when police called for SWAT officers to intervene and help.

Video from the scene at about 6:30 a.m. shows the suspect come out of his room naked, grab a police robot that was sent by officers to the room, and drag the robot inside.

It may seem like a bad scenario for officers, but they said it actually could be part of the plan.

"Yeah, suspects have grabbed before but we still get what we need. We get intelligence. We get eyes into the room. Information is powerful for us. We want to know what we're seeing, what we're getting ready to go into," Bellamy said. "Either way, it actually works out for us sometimes. When they pull them in, we're getting what we want."

According to the Houston Police Foundation website, SPOT is the robot. SPOT has been used "on multiple high-risk scenes in which it was able to eliminate a large part of the danger associated with searching homes and buildings."

"We use the robot dog for almost all of our scenes now. Technology allows us to interact with individuals without putting us at risk or them at risk," Bellamy said.

At one point, Houston police sent a second robot to the area. That's when the suspect put what appeared to be a mattress up against the window.

By about 8:45 a.m., police said the suspect was taken into custody.

The man came out, this time wearing shorts and a backpack, and obeyed police officers' commands to squat and lay down before taking him into custody.

According to Bellamy, the suspect had been smoking methamphetamine late Monday night. He has been charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a pistol, with other charges pending.

Police said the suspect had previous run-ins with their mental health division.