By Alex Bridges -- firstname.lastname@example.org
The Front Royal police officer injured in a struggle with a man Saturday left the hospital Monday afternoon to begin his recovery, according to Chief Richard H. Furr.
Clyde Eugene Burrell Jr. remains held without bond in Warren County Jail following an incident which authorities say left two Front Royal police officers hurt, one severely. Police charged Burrell, 33, last known to live in Front Royal, with attempted capital murder, assault and battery of a law enforcement officer and maliciously causing bodily injury in an attack on Sgt. Bryan Courtney.
Attempted capital murder of an officer is a class 2 felony punishable by up to life in prison.
The sergeant was released from Warren Memorial Hospital but will not return to duty until he recovers from his injuries, Furr said Monday afternoon.
Burrell also stands charged with assault and battery of a law enforcement officer involving Detective Jason Lethcoe, who came to assist Courtney during the incident. Lethcoe was treated for injuries at the hospital and released.
Burrell is scheduled to appear in Warren County General District Court today.
As Furr explained, it doesn't appear Courtney tried to use a Taser or his service weapon. Courtney had barely enough time to grab his baton before Burrell initiated the altercation, Furr said.
"The best we can figure it at this point this incident took place in about 30 seconds," Furr said. "It happened that quick."
"As soon as he stepped out of the car his feet hit the ground and this individual decided to run and charge at him, and like I said, all the officer had time to do was draw his baton, a defensive weapon, and the subject impacted him, knocking him off of his feet," Furr added.
Courtney responded to a report of a male subject "flashing" passing motorists in the area of North Shenandoah Avenue at approximately 6:30 p.m., according to a news release and a criminal complaint filed by Front Royal police Sgt. Jason Ryman in the case.
Witnesses saw the two men fall to the ground and, during the struggle, Burrell pinned Courtney with his legs and slammed the officer's head on the pavement multiple times, the complaint states. Burrell then pulled Courtney's expandable baton and beat the officer about the head and face multiple times, according to the complaint. The two men continued to struggle and Burrell put the officer in a partial headlock while he "raked his fingers through Courtneys eyes," the complaint states.
Courtney struggled to regain control of the baton while on his back as Burrell straddled over the officer, according to the complaint. Burrell ripped the baton from Courtney's grip, pulled the baton over his head and was about to strike the officer when Lethcoe tackled the suspect, the complaint states. Burrell and Lethcoe struggled until the detective knocked the man to the ground. Burrell was ordered to lie on his stomach but continued to resist efforts to be handcuffed, according to the complaint. With the assistance of a passerby police placed Burrell into custody.
Two more passersby stopped and gave first aid to Courtney, according to police. Courtney and Lethcoe went to the hospital. Lethcoe was treated and released.
Burrell recently served jail time for a felony conviction of assault and battery of a law enforcement officer. Court records indicate that incident occurred March 19, 2010. During that incident, according to a criminal complaint filed in the case, Burrell was arrested on charges of being drunk in public. He shouted insults at the police officer and then spat in his face. At that time, a preliminary breath test showed Burrell had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.12 percent, according to the complaint. Burrell pleaded guilty to the assault charge and received a three-year term with all but one year and one month suspended. However, he could face serving the remainder of that sentence if found in violation of the supervised probation imposed with the conviction.
Since his release from jail, Burrell has had other run-ins with town police, including convictions of public intoxication, according to court records.
Police ask anyone with information about the Saturday incident to contact Ryman at the criminal investigation division of the police department at 636-2208 or the town dispatch center at 635-2111.