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Man arrested after allegedly walking on Austin utility line like a tightrope

Police say the man was arrested for attempting to take a weapon and resisting arrest.

AUSTIN, Texas — Photos on social media have been circulating appearing to show a man walking on an Austin utility line like it was a tightrope ... and police confirmed the incident actually happened.

According to the Austin Police Department, the call came in around 1:10 p.m. on Monday at South First Street and West St. Elmo Road. A suspect named Antonio Gomez was arrested and taken to the Travis County Jail.

Upon speaking with Gomez, police said he told them he was trying to get away from dogs that were chasing him. He then jumped down from the pole without hesitation and was seen by medics on site.

Police said he admitted to using methamphetamine but he did not display any violent behavior other than "being extremely paranoid about dogs biting him." He was then transported to a South Austin hospital. After he was cleared, he was taken to the Sobering Center for Public Intoxication.

Credit: Ernesto Garza

At the Sobering Center, police said Gomez became angry during a medical test, jumped out of his chair and grabbed a pair of scissors from the nurse's counter. Reportedly, he then held the scissors out in front of him and began rambling about dogs he believed were going to bite him.

The officer asked Gomez to put down the scissors four to five times, and he eventually complied. As the officer was trying to place him in handcuffs, police said Gomez was resisting and trying to get his left hand loose. 

Court documents state Gomez was able to break loose from the officer and he then attempted to grab her gun. When she told him to let go of the gun, police said Gomez began to run down the hallway yelling, "don't kill me, don't kill me."

RELATED: Here's how Austin's Sobering Center is doing since opening in 2018

The officer then chased Gomez down the hallway and attempted to tase him, but it was ineffective. Reportedly, he then ran into a nearby restroom as the officer switched out her taser cartridges. Gomez then ran into a laundry room and barricaded himself. While inside, police said he continued to ramble about the dogs.

Eventually, police said Gomez exited the laundry room armed with a metal spoon, which he dropped soon after walking out. He was then placed into custody with his back towards the arresting officer.

Gomez, 23, is facing two charges: attempting to take a weapon and resisting arrest. His bonds were set at $7,500 and $5,000, respectively.

The photos of Gomez on the utility line were posted on Reddit by Ernesto Garza, along with the caption "didn't know the circus was in town."

Credit: Ernesto Garza

On Tuesday, Garza spoke to KVUE about what happened. He said he was on his way to work at the time when he came across police and was confused as to what was happening. 

“I figured maybe it was like a funeral procession because I saw cops holding back traffic and that’s what I assumed,” Garza said. “Once I saw the police officer looking up into the wiring, I noticed that this gentleman was basically tight wiring the cables.”

He said he just hopes the man gets the help he needs. 

"I couldn't believe it – I was like, 'What is going on?'" Garza said. "I feel bad for the guy you know? ... I hope he gets some help, you know?" 

WATCH: Inside Austin's Sobering Center


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