Texas standoff over as leader surrenders
Two separatists flee
May 3, 1997
FORT DAVIS, Texas (CNN) -- The self-proclaimed leader of the Republic of Texas, Richard McLaren, and three of the remaining separatists inside the mountainous enclave surrendered to Department of Public Safety authorities late Saturday afternoon.
Texas state officials said two of McLaren's armed followers were able to elude authorities and fled into the woods. State police are conducting a search for them.
Earlier Saturday, McLaren's wife, Evelyn, left the remote mountain hideout. Her brother, J.C. Mason, told reporters his sister would be detained by the Texas Department of Public Safety for 72 hours before being reunited with her family.
The end of the siege came after tactical police officers moved within a quarter-mile of the group's trailer, prompting McLaren to issue a call for help over short-wave radio.
"Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! Hostiles are invading the Republic of Texas embassy," said McLaren. "We have hostiles in the woods. This is a mayday call for any nation in the world ... We are being invaded!"
Texas officials said the close positioning of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams did not necessarily mean an imminent assault on the group's "embassy" in the Davis Mountains resort community.
"We still want to resolve this peacefully," said Mike Cox of the state Department of Public Safety. "That's where we stand at this point."
"I guess you boys didn't learn anything from Waco or Ruby Ridge," McLaren said in his short-wave broadcast. "And you fools are going to come here and kill me, huh, and overrun this mission.
"We'll take a good hunk of you boys with us," he said.
Cox said that one group member was heard over the radio ordering others to "fire at will" and "Put the laser on (a police officer) and pluck him."
Robert Scheidt, the group member whose arrest on Sunday began the series of events that led to the standoff, walked away from the building Friday. In addition to his original weapons charges, Scheidt now faces felony charges of engaging in organized crime.
The group seized two hostages following Scheidt's arrest, and later released them in exchange for Scheidt, the group's security chief.
Since the standoff began, a letter from Boyce Halbison, claiming to be the president of the Republic of Texas, has been passed to McLaren. In it, Halbison orders those involved in the standoff to surrender peacefully and asks other militia to stand down and not join the conflict.
Corespondent Jennifer Auther and Reuters contributed to this report.
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