SMU Crane Standoff: Suspect Falls to His Death

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SMU crane standoff, which began when 44 year-old Lee Dell Thomas Jr. climbed to the top of a construction crane on the Southern Methodist University campus, has ended with the suspect plummeting to his death. Police claim that Thomas had threatened to shoot officers from his elevated location, prompting the 15-hour standoff with authorities.

Dallas, Texas police officials believe that Thomas was also involved with the theft of a large trunk containing band equipment, an event which found the suspect driving wildly through the streets, smashing into anything that stood in his way. The pursuit led to the Southern Methodist University campus, where Thomas quickly climbed the crane in a vain attempt to escape authorities. Officially, police have refused to link the two incidents.

During the stand-off, officers attempted to keep conversation with the suspect going via the two-way radio in the crane's cab. However, as the hours and heat piled on, it was clear that the man had no intentions of coming down on his own. When police tried to climb up to confront the Thomas, he began spraying them with a bottled chemical.

"As the officers were attempting entry, they found the entry deck had been covered with grease by the suspect,” Deputy Chief Randall Blankenbaker explained. “And as they were attempting entry, the suspect began spraying a substance at them, similar to WD-40."

Around 2am on Tuesday morning, Thomas, sick and exhausted from the heat, attempted to move from the front of the cab to the side, which resulted in him falling to his death. A press conference is currently scheduled at 4pm this afternoon.

Left SMU at 12 am. Storm had passed. We'd watched man in crane thru telescope for 2 hours. 2 hrs later, he was dead.
7 hours ago via Tweet Button · powered by @socialditto
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Man who fell to his death from crane at SMU identified as Lee Dell Thomas Jr., 44. DPD news conference at 4
41 minutes ago via TweetDeck · powered by @socialditto
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Witnesses say man in #SMU crane standoff dangled from cab window for minutes before letting go
12 hours ago via web · powered by @socialditto
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RIP SMU Crane man... the cops will never get you now
37 minutes ago via web · powered by @socialditto
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Poor man who had the standoff on the smu crane-dont think I wanna know anymore. May he rest in peace.
41 minutes ago via UberSocial for BlackBerry · powered by @socialditto
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