Mentally ill patient caught on Suck Creek Rd. - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Mentally ill patient caught on Suck Creek Rd.

Posted: Updated:
Lenion R. Barnett Lenion R. Barnett

Story by Antwan Harris

Eyewitness News Reporter

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)-- An escaped mental patient, considered armed and dangerous, has been found.

Lenion Barnett was arrested by Chattanooga Police on Suck Creek Road around 3:40 Friday afternoon.

Police say he escaped custody and grabbed an officer's gun Thursday night.

The sheriff's office tells us he busted through a Hamilton County patrol car barrier, tried to choke the officer and then grabbed his gun before running away.

A sheriff's spokesperson says the man was being treated at Erlanger when police were called to take him to Moccasin Bend.

While being transported, he became combative, kicked out the back window, and then went for the officer's throat.

"After he completed that, he grabbed the officer around the neck and started chocking him and tried to get his gun," says Janice Atkinson, spokesperson for the Hamilton County Police Department.

Barnett and the officer scuffled before he broke loose and darted into a wooded area behind Hamm Road.

Police managed to get his hospital gown during their search Thursday night.

"Officers and dogs are in the woods searching for this party and other officers around the perimeter to contain it," says Atkinson.

And how Barnett got away from police is easier than you might think.

"It just depends on where you hit the window," says Rebecca Royval, spokesperson for the Chattanooga Police Department.

Chattanooga Police say they've had issues with suspects kicking out windows in the past. They say enough force with a shoe can shatter the window instantly.

Barnett did it barefoot.

"It can be done. It is why we started putting in the safety features long ago," says Royval.

That's why they switched from the single bar in the back of police cruisers, to a steel gate over the window.

Police say sometimes, it's not just the officers who need protection.

"Also, the suspect. You can get seriously injured kicking out a window," says Royval.

Barnett is being held at the Hamilton County Jail.

He is facing numerous charges including assaulting a police officer, reckless endangerment, evading arrest and vandalism.


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