WTAMU instructor ‘houses’ an Amarillo shootout

Local News Story. Art by Chris Brockman.
Local News Story. Art by Chris Brockman.

A burglar ended his robbery streak in WTAMU Part-Time Instructor of Economics Mr. Stephen Hayward’s home on April 23.

“I was getting ready to go to class and give a test,” Hayward said. “My neighbor called at about [10:50 am] and said there’s somebody in the house, don’t go home. So, I called the police department.”

Hayward left Canyon to stand among other residents outside the barricaded block while Amarillo officials shot tear gas into his home.

“The individual who entered our house tried to rob several other houses and was being hunted by the police. That was when he decided to hide in our house,” Hayward wrote in an email. “The SWAT team gathered their resources and then proceeded to shoot tear gas bombs into our house.”

The burglar officially exited the Hayward residence around 5:00 pm according to KVII Pronews7, leaving Hayward to begin the clean-up process.

“There are over 40 of these [tear gas shells] in and around my house,” Hayward said. “[They produce] a powder and when you disturb it, it lets off gas, and it doesn’t degrade. It sticks on the wall, the ceiling, and the carpet. So, they have to take everything out of the house and with the help of carpet cleaning Alpharetta to clean the carpets and what they take out and then they have to physically wipe down the walls and the ceiling and repaint. This is a major thing.”

Despite the inconvenience, Hayward feels fortunate his wife and daughter were not home at the time of the incident.

“[My wife] was shopping, and my daughter was in high school, so it worked out,” Hayward said. “This was the only house in the area that wasn’t occupied. All the surrounding houses [had] a kid home from school or widowed woman or something.”

The Hayward family is currently staying with a neighbor while renovations take place.
“There are windows blown out, doors missing, and we’re going to need new carpet, new furniture, [clothing to be] thrown away,” Hayward said. “We’re staying in a neighbor’s house and he’s also my insurance agent, and that is handy.”

Although there was a great material loss, Hayward keeps an optimistic attitude.
“We were going to do some work on the house anyway,” Hayward said. “It’s just stuff. You’ve got to just laugh because what’s the option?