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Twitter offers bird’s eye view of SWAT arrest

Published: Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Updated: Thursday, January 16, 2014 00:01

When sophomore political science major Hayden Greer noticed flashing police lights and officers with automatic rifles and shotguns outside his neighbor’s house Tuesday night, he did the first thing that came to mind — tweet about it.

An hour after the College Station Police Department SWAT and Hostage Negotiations Team were activated Tuesday night in response to a family disturbance call on the 600 block of Harvest Street, Greer became the city’s live news source.

According to a police report, officers were dispatched at 10:09 p.m. Tuesday after a gunshot was fired in a domestic dispute between 20-year-old College Station resident William Herrin and a family member who fled the house shortly after. The SWAT and Hostage Negotiations team set up a perimeter as Herrin evaded arrest until 12:09 a.m. Wednesday when he was caught and taken into custody, according to the report.

As the event unfolded, Hayden tweeted from a closet on the second floor of his house.

“It didn’t seem to be real,” Greer said. “We had never really seen anything like this. We’re all small-town people.”

Greer posted tweets such as, “He’s back outside sneaking in backyard. We can see from second story police cannot.”

Greer said a police officer came to his door asking him to stop tweeting and he received a call from a city official requesting that he cease tweeting until the suspect was in custody.

“They said the suspect could be on Twitter looking to see where we were saying things could be happening,” Greer said.

But the delay was short and four minutes later Geer was tweeting that the suspect had been tackled.

By the end of the spectacle, the official Twitter account of the City of College Station posted that the suspect was in custody and used the hashtag Greer created — #LiveTweetTheNeighborhoodTakedown.

There have been no reports of injuries inside the residence as the result of firearm discharge. Herrin has been charged with evading arrest or detention and with assault for other injuries inflicted on a family member in the original disturbance, according to a College Station Police report.


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