SMITHVILLE, Texas (KXAN) — A SWAT situation in Smithville involving a man who barricaded himself inside Serenity Star, a treatment center for alcohol and drug abuse, has ended.
Comfort Cafe, which is the cafe next to the Serenity Star, posted on Facebook around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday indicating a man who doesn’t live at the center is inside the “women’s dorm and locked himself inside with guns.” The post goes on to say all the residents are safe.
Police say Robert Wayne Stevenson showed up around 8:30 a.m. and tried contacting his ex-wife at the facility. When she asked him to leave, he pulled out a gun. The 12 women staying at the facility fled through the back door just before Stevenson broke through the glass window.
SWAT team members were called in and after a five-hour standoff, they were eventually able to get Stevenson to come out without incident around 1:30 p.m. The town square was closed to vehicular traffic during the stand-off.
Stevenson told officers he wanted to commit suicide.
Smithville residents say they have never seen something like this in the small town. “I’m hoping that every officer is going to be safe. I’m hoping they apprehend the suspect with force but not him getting injured himself to find out why he flipped out,” said Bryon Reeves.
The owners of Serenity Star say in the facilities seven years of business, they too have never seen something like this happen, but don’t plan on changing any security measures.
“We look to our higher power for all the protection. They have him in custody, for me it’s an isolated event and all the love and support here I think protects us a lot,” said Teri Lopez, Co-founder of Serenity Star.
Lopez says they are a sacred facility and a place where women should feel safe.
“I would point out that all across the country, in Charleston for example different churches that have been attacked — this is a type of sanctuary just like that for people in recovery. So they’re not doing anything extra ordinary but following God and that’s what we will do too,” said Charlie Amos, Minister for Serenity Star.
Stevenson is charged with burglary, with more charges likely pending.
While Smithville High School is nearby, a spokesperson for Smithville Independent School District says there was no threat to its students.