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Dallas cops in standoff with man in crane at SMU

Tim Sharp / Reuters

A robbery suspect sits in the cab of a construction crane on the SMU campus after climbing the crane in a standoff with police in Dallas, Texas May 28.

DALLAS -- Police were in a standoff Monday with a robbery suspect who climbed up a construction crane about 150 feet above Southern Methodist University’s campus and threatened to shoot officers trying to talk him down.

Officials with the Dallas Police Department said they received a call from Southern Methodist University about a man on a crane who said he had a gun.

Police SWAT units were called in to establish communication with the man. Police have not confirmed whether the man was armed.

Witnesses told NBCDFW.com they saw a man wearing a red shirt perched inside the control box of the crane, located on the south side of the campus.

The man has not moved the crane, which is powerless. The machinery was being used to build student housing.

View NBCDFW.com's story on SWAT called to SMU campus

Dallas Police Department spokesperson Melinda Gutierrez said since the crane doesn’t have any power, it means the cab doesn’t have air conditioning. “That would help in our favor,” Gutierrez told the Dallas Morning News.

Witnesses said they were evacuated from campus buildings on the SMU campus. A nearby gym was also evacuated.

University officials told NBC News classes were not in session on Monday because of the federal holiday. School is also between its May and June sessions. 

Streets from U.S. 75 toward the SMU campus on Mockingbird Lane were shut down.

Police said the man was a suspect in an overnight aggravated robbery of a vehicle in the area just before 2:30 a.m. Monday.

NBCDFW.com contributed to this report.

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