Man identified in Conway Medical standoff - - Columbia, South Carolina

Man identified in Conway Medical standoff

Robert McGowan (Photo courtesy of J. Reuben Long Detention Center) Robert McGowan (Photo courtesy of J. Reuben Long Detention Center)

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - The man who held a 15-hour standoff with police outside of the Conway Medical Center surrendered to authorities Wednesday morning and has been identified by the U.S. Attorney General's Office.

Robert Gustav McGowan, Jr., of Myrtle Beach, had been holed up in a car outside of the emergency room since late Tuesday evening.  He is now in police custody at the Florence Detention Center where he is expected to make a federal court appearance on Thursday.

Julie Rajotte, spokeswoman for the Conway Medical Center, told WMBF News the incident escalated after McGowan drove up to the ambulance bay in a blue Firebird and refused to move.  When hospital security asked him to move and McGowan's car stayed in place, local law enforcement and the Horry County SWAT and Negotiation Team was dispatched to the scene. 

McGowan, police confirmed, was considered armed and dangerous.  He was in possession of a long-barreled shotgun or rifle.

Conway Police Capt. Rodney Sessions said police and SWAT members were communicating with McGowan by yelling through his car window.  Police said when he was not talking to them or his parole officer who was asked to be sent to the scene, McGowan had the music playing loudly in his car.

Authorities say there was no indication the man had any connection to the hospital and are unaware of what sparked the standoff.  McGowan, they say, was calm and rational throughout the event, only requesting coffee Wednesday morning.

As a precaution, hospital administrators locked down the facility and surrounding area Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning.  Patients receiving treatment in the emergency room area of the hospital were moved to a different location and ambulances were put on diversion, according to Rajotte.

Police records show McGowan had a track record dating back to 1997.  He was previously charged with assault and battery with intent to kill and resisting arrest with a deadly weapon.  McGowan was sentenced to 12 years and another 10 years in jail for the charges, respectively.

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