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2012-10-11

Hours long standoff ends with arrest

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

An incident that reportedly began in the late afternoon of Wednesday, Oct. 3, was resolved at approximately 11:30 pm that evening with the arrest of a convicted felon residing in a rental unit house located in the City of Bandera.

According to a press release issued by Capt. Shane Merritt, chief administrative officer of the Bandera County Sheriff's Office, that day, Precinct 1 Constable Phil Tobin informed Sgt. Gerald "Jerry" Johnson that he had received reliable information on the current location of Barry Wayne Anderwald, 55.

Anderwald was apparently the subject of an active arrest warrant for felony parole violation. Deputies with the BCSO responded to a location on 6th Street where Tobin was already on the scene.

Although city law enforcement officers were not involved in the incident, City Marshal Charlie Hicks, City Administrator Mike Cardenas and Mayor Pro Tem Maggie Schumacher were kept apprised of the situation as it developed.

Responding BCSO officers included Johnson, Deputy Mike Dyall and Deputy Michael Cornwell. Merritt was also on hand. "I had been transporting a prisoner. When I got back to the jail at 9:10 that evening, I first heard about the incident," Merritt said in an interview. "I arrived at the scene at approximately 9:20."

After arriving at the location, deputies learned that Anderwald had sequestered himself inside the residence and refused to surrender to law enforcement officers.

Unsubstantiated information also led officers to believe that Anderwald was equipped with several firearms and a large hunting knife. They were unable to verify that information, however.

Anderwald failed to respond to deputies' attempts to negotiate his exit from the residence. After an hour-long stalemate, deputies lobbed a canister of tear gas through an unsecured exterior door to the man's rental unit - which is standard operating procedure in a case like this.

When deputies entered the residence, they discovered Anderwald had retreated to the unit's back bedroom. Attempting to prevent the tear gas from entering the room, he had also apparently stuffed a blanket under the bedroom door.

Another protracted round of negotiations failed to extricate Anderwald from his improvised redoubt. At that point, several more tear gas canisters were deployed into the bedroom. However, those attempts to roust out the suspect also proved futile.

After finally entering the bedroom, deputies discovered Anderwald hiding under the bed with a blanket covering his mouth.

"It seemed as though Mr. Anderwald had previous experience with tear gas," one law enforcement officer offered.

Anderwald was taken into custody without further incident and transported to the Bandera County Jail.

"I want to thank the owners of the rental unit for their cooperation and support," Merritt said. He also commended Tobin and medical personnel with the Bandera EMS for their assistance during the standoff.

An eyewitness to the siege also commended the work of BCSO deputies. "They handled the problem in a very professional manner. We've never been in that kind of situation before," he said.

According to the witness, the incident began in the late afternoon when Tobin informed the man and his wife that an allegedly "dangerous person" was living in their rental unit and that deputies had planned to take him into custody.

The witness apparently informed Tobin about 30 minutes later that the suspect was at home in the rental unit. Shortly after that, backup units from BCSO arrived. "I think there were five cruisers altogether," the man said. "I think the whole thing ended about 11 pm."

Regarding the four canisters of tear gas deployed, the witness said, "You can still go into the house today (the evening of Thursday, Oct. 4) and your eyes will water." He added, "We have to repair the wall and ceiling because of the tear gas canisters, but we're glad to have him out of there."