NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas – New Braunfels police said Lowe's employees led them to a man who tried to rob the store and led police on a chase that ended in a three-hour standoff on Interstate 35 on Monday night.
Traffic was backed up for 11 miles in both directions at I-35 at Schwab Road as crisis negotiators spoke with the suspect, Ruben Ramirez Jr., who told officers he had a gun and would shoot if they didn't back away, police said.
Investigators said Ramirez, 46, held his ground during the tail end of evening rush hour, which forced police to shut down the interstate.
Police said Ramirez walked into the home improvement store around 6:30 p.m. at I-35 at Walnut Road and handed a note to employees demanding cash.
After a brief scuffle, police said Ramirez got in a Ford Taurus and drove off.
Store employees got a good look at the suspect before he fled, police said.
"[The employees] kind of followed him out to the parking lot. We were able to know what kind of vehicle he was in and a description of the suspect as well," said New Braunfels Police Department spokesman David Ferguson.
Officials said Ramirez led police on a chase on north I-35, where officers tried to stop him at York Creek, but he decided to head south instead.
Police placed spike strips at Solms Road, which punctured at least one tire, police said. Ramirez's car was run off the road into a concrete median when police used Pursuit Intervention Technique, a pursuit tactic where a pursuing car can force a fleeing car to abruptly turn sideways, causing the driver to lose control and stop, officials said.
Officers walked up with their guns drawn, but Ramirez refused to come out of the car, police said.
"We certainly appreciate everybody's patience in that scenario. The idea is we want no loss of life, no injury if we can certainly help it," Ferguson said.
Police arrested Ramirez without further incident.
Ramirez was charged with aggravated robbery and evading arrest with a vehicle.