A Front Royal man faces attempted capital murder and other charges in an attack on two town police officers on Saturday evening.
Police arrested Clyde Eugene Burrell Jr., 33, of 607 W. 11th St., Front Royal, on one count of attempted capital murder and one count of maliciously causing bodily injury in an attack on police Sgt. Bryan Courtney, and two counts of assault and battery in an attack on Courtney and Detective Jason Lethcoe, according to a news release issued by Chief Richard H. Furr.
The attack came at a time when police were searching for a male who had been exposing himself to passing motorists on North Shenandoah Avenue at around 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
Courtney radioed that he may have the suspect on North Shenandoah Avenue. When he left his patrol car, the release states, Burrell attacked him.
During the attack, the release states, "Burrell slammed Sergeant Courtney's head into the pavement multiple times and raked his fingers through Sergeant Courtney's eyes. As Sergeant Courtney continued to fight for his life, Burrell gained control of Sergeant Courtney's expandable baton and commenced to beat Sergeant Courtney, striking him in his face, arms and the back of his head."
The release continues that Courtney got on his back, and Burrell was on his chest. Both men were struggling for control of the baton when Burrell "ripped the baton from Sergeant Courtney's hands" and as "Burrell drew back the baton to strike Sergeant Courtney, Detective Jason Lethcoe arrived on the scene and was able to tackle Burrell."
Lethcoe was able to get Burrell away from Courtney and during the struggle, "a citizen came to the aid of Detective Lethcoe and helped in gaining control of Burrell," the release states.
Burrell was handcuffed and two other citizens, the release states, "came to the aid of Sergeant Courtney rendering first aid."
Police Corp. David Fogle arrived and transported Courtney to Warren Memorial Hospital, according to the release. Lethcoe was treated and released.
Police Capt. Mark Werner said Lethcoe suffered a bruise to his hand during the fight. Werner said at least two of the citizens who aided police during the fight had been in passing vehicles before they stopped and intervened.
Werner said Sunday night that Courtney was "still in the hospital waiting to be cleared by doctors. They still have things they need to check on."
Werner said Courtney was "stable, conscious and alert" and could be released by Monday or Tuesday, "depending on whether they run some more tests."
Courtney has been on the force more than five years and is in his 30s, Werner said.
Burrell, the release states, is being held without bond. No court date has been set yet.
Werner said Burrell, who was uninjured, is 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs 260 to 280 pounds.
Burrell pleaded guilty in July 2010 in Warren County Circuit Court to assault and battery on a law enforcement officer in March of that year, according to the state court system's database.
Records also show he was sentenced to three years in prison, of which one year and 11 months were suspended, and two years probation.
He also has two convictions in Warren County for grand larceny and attempted grand larceny, according to the database.
Werner said Courtney had a police dog in the car with him at the time he stopped Burrell, "but everything happened so fast he wasn't able to get the canine out of the vehicle."
Werner said police are withholding the identities of the citizens who helped the officers because they are witnesses in the investigation and any subsequent court proceedings.
Police ask that anyone with information about this incident contact Detective Sgt. Jason Ryman at the Criminal Investigation Division of the Front Royal Police Department at 540-636-2208 or the Front Royal Police Department Dispatch Center at 540-635-2111.