"I Couldn’t Stand It Anymore"

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FORT DAVIS, Texas: Police got their first break in a five-day standoff Friday when one Republic of Texas member emerged from their ramshackle trailer, raising hopes that a peaceful end may be near. Robert Scheidt, the group's "captain of the embassy guard," abruptly walked out on the others still holed up in the home of leader Richard McLaren. "I had to get out of there. I couldn't stand it anymore," Scheidt reportedly told a state trooper. Scheidt was released Monday from police custody, where he was being held on a weapons violation, and traded for the couple the Texians had taken hostage Sunday. But while police were buoyed by the surrender, McLaren's increasingly angry neighbors, who voluntarily evacuated the area, won't be satisfied until they are allowed back into their homes, reports Austin bureau chief Sam Gwynne. Federal authorities have blockaded the one dirt road leading to the Davis Mountains Resort, leaving as many as 120 residents locked out. Some 25 others decided to stay when police asked them to evacuate, but are now stuck inside with no telephone access, since the lines apparently were cut. All of McLaren’s neighbors had better get used to it. While negotiations are proceeding, the feds are reluctant to stage an assault. McLaren reportedly has said that he would rather die than surrender.