Man Arrested After Gas Leak Prompts Evacuation in Garland

Garland police are investigating after a regulator station was allegedly intentionally damaged Saturday morning, causing major road closures.

According to Garland police, Lauro Espinosa Gonzalez, 40, is in custody after a backpack near the scene of where a gas valve was damaged was found.

Garland Police Department

Police said they found Gonzalez's ID inside the backpack, as well as an ax.

Officers initially arrested Gonzalez for previous warrants, but further investigation revealed he was the one responsible for damaging the regulator station. 

Investigators said police found Gonzalez passed out on the sidewalk at the Walmart across the street from the incident location.

"We do believe this is an act of vandalism," Lt. Pedro Barianeau of Garland Police Department said. He added police didn't know a motive, but didn't believe Gonzalez intended to injure anyone.  

According to fire crews, an 8-inch above ground gas line was damaged in front of 5300 N. Garland Avenue at 5:12 a.m. Saturday. The road was closed for close to 10 hours, but reopened around 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Just before 2 p.m., crews from Atmos stopped the leak and made repairs. No injuries were reported.  

The closures and evacuations affected several businesses in the immediate area.

"Today is the busiest day for my business," said Pritesh Patel, who owns a salon. "So it's frustrating, a little bit."

Gonzalez faces charges of criminal mischief and damage to public utilities. He is being held at the Garland jail as the investigation continues. 

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