Man dies in apparent suicide during SWAT standoff

Police say Jason Richard (inset) took his own life at his home in Groves.

As thunder and lightning rolled overhead, police and SWAT teams in Groves rolled into the 6200 block of Jackson Street after a gunman barricaded himself inside his home Wednesday, June 19.

Multiple neighbors on the scene said Jason Richard, a father of two and a successful small business owner in Groves, was the man inside.

Police responded to the home about 11:15 a.m. to find a woman who told police she had escaped out of the bathroom window about 11 a.m. after Richard told her to tie her hands and feet and get inside the bathtub. The woman was Richard’s girlfriend, neighbors said.

“He was quiet,” said a neighbor who lives two doors down from Richard but declined to be identified. “He had a very successful lawn business.”

Others agreed, saying Richard was just another neighbor in a quiet Groves neighborhood.

“Seemed to be a nice guy as far as I knew,” said Grady Jackson, who has lived next door to Richard’s home for the past 50 years. “He cut my grass and everything.”

Richard’s lawn care business was well known by neighbors, who said Richard was hard working and never a nuisance.

By 2:15 p.m. June 19, police negotiators were communicating with Richard through a loud speaker but received no response.

At approximately 2:54 p.m., police deployed nine non-lethal gas canisters into the home in an attempt to end the standoff peacefully. Upon entering the home, police found Richard deceased with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Young friends of Richard’s two children could be seen sobbing upon the news Richard was dead at the scene Wednesday. They said Richard was not a violent person but was having emotional troubles recently. They said Richard’s Facebook posts were melancholy and somewhat dark.

“He was so depressed about everything,” said 14-year-old Meagan Presswood. “He was just diagnosed with brain cancer.”

Presswood said Richard’s eldest son was her best friend and she was shocked at the death of a man who she said was always kind to them. She said she had just seen Richard’s son at Port Neches High School where they attend summer school as freshmen.

“I just saw him today,” she said. “He had just tweeted how he was ready to go home to take a nap. And now he comes home to this.”