LA MARQUE — A standoff with an elderly La Marque woman who police said was holding her husband at gunpoint ended after six hours on Wednesday. 

A SWAT team from nearby Texas City was deployed and was on standby as negotiators tried to convince Loretta Faye Nipp, 73, to come out. 

It wasn’t until the woman’s attorney arrived that negotiators were able to talk her out of the house. Her husband, Harrom Nipp, 77, came out first, followed his wife, who was wearing a green sweatpants and sweatshirt.

Mrs. Nipp was taken into custody for a mental evaluation and is likely to face charges, La Marque detective Sgt. Shawn Spruill said. No charges were filed as of Wednesday night.

A handgun presumed to have been used by Mrs. Nipp was taken by police.

Mr. Nipp was not injured, police said. Spruill said later the couple had a financial dispute that led to the standoff.

Police surrounded a house in the 1700 block of Hawthorne Street at about 10 a.m. after receiving a 911 call that a woman was holding her husband hostage. 

Mr. Nipp’s brother called 911, Spruill said. He called after Mr. Nipp phoned him, saying that his wife wouldn’t let him leave the house. The brother also informed police that there were weapons in the house, Spruill said.

La Marque police closed off the street leading to the house. Spruill said that police initially had reached Mrs. Nipp via phone, but she hung up. 

Police then used a loudspeaker to ask her to pick up the phone to talk to family members. She eventually answered the phone and negotiators had some contact with the woman throughout the afternoon. 

About three hours into the standoff, the Texas City SWAT team arrived to assist. 

Spruill said family members told police that the woman had threatened to shoot her husband in the past. He said he wasn’t sure in what context or how serious those previous threats were.

Police positioned around the house and officers had their guns drawn. 

Residents of houses closest to the Nipps house were evacuated. Other neighboring residents along the street were asked to stay in their houses. Still, many gathered at the end of the street to watch the police activity.

Among those who watched the scene unfold from their yards were Cynthia and Christopher McCalla, who live about three doors down from the Nipps house. The couple left their house in the afternoon to pick up their five children from school.

“We know her, but not really her husband,” Cynthia McCalla said. “We’ve never noticed any problems there before.”

The couple described the neighborhood near state Highway 3 as usually quiet with little trouble.

“No more than you would have in any neighborhood,” Christopher McCalla said.“It’s been trouble getting in and out of the neighborhood today.”

Some residents, unaware of the standoff, arrived to a closed streets and access to their houses limited. 

Warnette Sweeny, who lives about a half-block from where the standoff happened, arrived home after getting off work at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. 

“It scared me,” she said. “I don’t know what to think. I was very shocked. I am going to pray that she comes out safely and nothing happens.”

Contact Mainland Editor T.J. Aulds at 409-683-5334 or


(7) comments

Lars Faltskog

Sakes alive, this elderly couple no doubt has a volitile relationship. Since there's record of her threatening him before, then she must have some long-running, pent-up anger toward hubby. This isn't just a woman chasing after her old man with a rolling pin.

They might be in need of some couples therapy. It's never too late. Then again, maybe they have gone beyond a point of no return in this. One of them might be better off permanently moving out and living with some relatives he/she can get along with better.

Silvia Murphy

Very poorly written story. Grammar terrible. Thought the daily newspaper would have better writers on staff.

Gary Scoggin

I think when you hold your spouse at gunpoint and SWAT arrives, you're a little past couples therapy.

Cassandra Littleton

Wow, this is something, my neighborhood, or am i living down the street from a hoodneighbor. No place is safe. I'm glad it turned out safe..

james kramer

Good job chief Randall on waiting this one out and letting it defuse without going in guns drawn. With all the people getting killed by seat teams now days I am impressed to see a police department take a tactical pause and avoid needless blood shed. Looking good la marque PD.


I hope some how they can resolve this thing. I am surprise that no one sought help before when she was threatening before this happened. It's a tragedy!

Lars Faltskog

Response to gscoggin posted at 5:45 pm on Wed, Feb 5, 2014:

Interestingly enough, the local news last night said that the wife agreed to be psych evaluated. I would suggest the husband also do the same. For him to stay for years on end in a relationship with this violent woman necessitates that he also be examined for mental incapacity(ies). If they agree to continue to live with each other, it's in their best interest to both attend therapy together. Perhaps their AARP or other retirement insurance plan will cover some of the treatment(s).

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