Police resolve barricaded suicidal person situation peacefully

Bill Hancock
Ballinger police chief Stan Maresch addresses the media during the multi-agency response to a barricaded and suicidal woman who had her 3-year old child with her.

At approximately 1:30 on Thursday afternoon, March 5th, Ballinger police were dispatched to a home at 806 5th street. The call said that a woman was texting suicidal messages to her baby’s father, as well as texting photos of a pistol. Ballinger police chief Stan Maresch was the first officer to arrive on the scene, “She was in a back bedroom. I went in to talk to her and she brandished a compact pistol.”

The woman was identified by Ballinger police as Shanastie (Shana) Wren. According to Maresch, when he made that initial contact, the woman told him to get out of her house or she’d shoot him. Maresch said that he backed off and the police department set up a perimeter to secure the location. The 800 block of 5th Street was blocked off at both ends.

Maresch notified Abilene PD who sent several officers and a SWAT team to Ballinger. Runnels County sheriff Carl Squyers and some deputies also responded. DPS sent a trooper, a Texas Ranger (Josh Person) and a hostage negotiator. Miles police chief Quentin Watkins came to assist as well. The outside agencies arrived between 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. The Ballinger Memorial Hospital EMS arrived and staged down the block. The Abilene police department brought their mobile command center and set it up in the 500 block of Eubank Street.

Wren had a 3-year old child with her and Maresch said that during the negotiations, the child requested some mac-and-cheese, “So, we went to Golden Chick and got the child a chicken finger basket and some macaroni and cheese.”

According to Maresch Wren asked for the baby’s father to come get the child but Maresch said that they couldn’t allow that because of the obvious danger. Wren has 2 other children who were at school when the incident happened and who were picked up by family members.

Maresch said that the situation revolved around some family issues that had caused the woman to become distraught, “The family stated that she has had a history of mental issues but it’s unknown if she has ever actually been diagnosed with anything. She never threatened to harm the child, just herself.”

After 6 hours of negotiations Wren released the child to the police at around 7:40 p.m. Wren remained in the house until just after 9 p.m. when she surrendered and the situation was resolved peacefully. Maresch said that Wren could potentially be facing 2 charges; Threatening a Police Officer and Endangering a Child. After Wren surrendered she was transported to the MHMR center for evaluation.