Tense standoff in Texas between cops and six heavily armed men who were protecting a bar owner as she reopened her business in defiance of the state’s stay-at-home orders ends in arrests
Bar owner Gabrielle Ellison, 47, was arrested after she tried to reopen Big Daddy Zane’s Bar in Odessa on Monday evening
She claimed that she wanted to reopen as her employees are struggling and she has been paying them with no help from the Paycheck Protection Program
While Gov. Greg Abbott has allowed stores, restaurants and movie theaters to reopen at 25 percent capacity, bars must remain closed
Seven men who turned out to support and protect Ellison were also arrested; six of the men were armed with guns
The men belong to an organization named Open Texas, whose members travel across the state boosting the call for the reopening of all non-essential businesses
Bar owner Gabrielle Ellison, [left], is seen with members of Open Texas. The group travels around the state ‘with weapons’ and try to help businesses reopen their doors’
Videos posted online show local sheriff’s pointing their weapons at the armed protesters as they order them to put their hands into the air.
Gabrielle Ellison was arrested and charged with Violations of Emergency Management Plan Class B. She was released on a $500 bond.
The six armed men were all taken into custody and charged with Places Weapons Prohibited. It is unlawful to carry any firearm in a bar in Texas, either openly or concealed. They are each being held on a $5,000 bond. One Open Texas member was also arrested and charged with Interference with Public Duty.
In a phone interview with OA Online, Ellison stated she wanted to reopen as her employees are struggling and she has been paying them with no help from the Paycheck Protection Program.
‘I think some rights were taken away from us which one of them was like a right to survive. We have to survive and I think those rights were stripped from us,’ she stated.
Some of the Open Texas protesters traveled to Odessa from Dallas – a five hour drive away.
Police have arrested a lock-down-defying bar owner and six armed protesters, including Wyatt Winn [photo], outside Big Daddy Zane’s bar in West Odessa, Texas on Monday evening
SWAT team and Sheriff’s deputies order the armed protesters to put their hands in the air after they arrived in the parking lot of Big Daddy Zane’s in Odessa, Texas. Under state orders, bars are still supposed to be shut
Bar owner Gabrielle Ellison [center], met with members of Open Texas in the days prior to her arrest on Monday. She is pictured[center], with them earlier this month
Over the weekend, Gov. Greg Abbot allowed a partial reopening of business in Texas, with stores, restaurants, movie theaters and malls all allowed to open up at 25 percent capacity.
Gov Abbot was initially reluctant to allow any other businesses to recommence trade until May 18.
However, the governor has bowed to public pressure, and is allowing public pools, barbershops, hairdressers and nail salons to re-open this Friday,
t is unclear when bars will be able to re-commence trade.
There are more than 33,369 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Texas, with more than 900 reported deaths.