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911 calls reveal why Port San Antonio lockdown was ordered

An Air Force squadron commander feared the search for a suicidal airman could turn into a workplace active shooter situation at Port San Antonio, records show.
A building at Port San Antonio locked down June 24

EDITOR'S NOTE: In the interest of family privacy, KENS 5 has chosen to remove the name of the airman who committed suicide and was mentioned in this 2016 report. His actions took place away from Port San Antonio, and although concerns about his whereabouts prompted a lockdown that was newsworthy, Joint Base San Antonio later clarified that "there was never an indication of workplace violence." His suicide did not occur in public, and KENS 5 generally does not report on suicides under those circumstances.

SAN ANTONIO -- An Air Force squadron commander feared the search for a suicidal airman could turn into an active shooter situation at Port San Antonio, according to emergency call records of a 2016 incident obtained by the KENS 5 I-Team.

During the call on June 24, 2016, the lieutenant colonel in command of the 690th Network Support Squadron asked San Antonio police dispatchers to provide a hostage negotiator and repeatedly requested the department send "someone to come sweep the building to make sure I don't have an active shooter in my building."

The squadron commander, who identified himself as Lt. Col. David Caswell, told dispatchers that he was communicating with the airman via text message after the 39-year-old failed to show up to the building for work.

"I'm just trying to get people here," Caswell is heard saying. "I appreciate the 50 questions. But do you have someone there that can help me? So I don't have a person kill themselves."

The airman died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, miles from Port San Antonio.

The shooting came minutes after deputies made contact with the airman in a parking lot near Culebra Road and Loop 1604, a Bexar County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman said at the time.

Caswell told dispatchers people who found suicide notes at the airman's home advised him to lock down the Port San Antonio building.

He is heard on the call later, clarifying that the order came from San Antonio police officers who had responded to the airman's home.

"I have to assume that he might be in the building with weapons," Caswell said.

Port San Antonio and Joint Base San Antonio both made statements that day claiming that a building at Port San Antonio was placed on lockdown after a threatening call was made to an employee there.

JBSA later corrected its statement to say "there was never an indication of workplace violence."

During a second 911 call, a separate employee inside the facility said that email traffic between personnel indicated that there was an active shooter in the area.

JBSA's Public Affairs Office did not respond to repeated calls and emails from the I-Team attempting to confirm information about the facility.

Public affairs staff also did not respond to questions about whether they were aware of the 911 calls made by Air Force personnel.

The facility, identified in emergency calls as Building 1623, is leased to the Air Force, a Port San Antonio spokesman confirmed.