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UPDATE: Bradley Co. Sheriff, 2 officers taken to hospital after breaking up fight

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Bradley Co. Sheriff Eric Watson Bradley Co. Sheriff Eric Watson
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CLEVELAND, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: The Bradley County Sheriff was hurt while trying to break up a fight on Thursday afternoon. Deputies say the suspect also injured two Cleveland police officers.

Johnny Brewer, a bystander, helped the Sheriff during the fight.

"There were quite a few people gathered around, but nobody was really doing anything," Brewer told Eyewitness News.

When he heard a fight break out near his office, he didn't hesitate to run outside and help -- especially when he saw the scuffle involved Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson.

"The Sheriff just looked like he could use some help," Brewer said.

Sheriff Watson said he was driving down 25th Street in Cleveland when he saw 23-year-old Gregory Mathis assault another woman.

When Watson stopped to break up the fight, deputies said Mathis hit the Sheriff several times, bit him, grabbed his necktie, and tried to choke him out.

Brewer helped hold Mathis down until more help could arrive.

Cleveland Police Officers Chris Allen and Kyle Walker responded to help. Allen suffered a broken nose. Walker left with numerous abrasions.

Exclusive Channel 3 viewer video shows a team of officers take Mathis into custody and carry him to a patrol car.

Sheriff Watson is recovering from several injuries.

"He's pretty bruised up. Minor injuries, nothing life threatening," said James Bradford, spokesman for Bradley County Sheriff's Office.

Bradford said it was the Sheriff's duty to stop and help.

"Our oath that we've taken is to protect our citizens," said Bradford. "Sheriff Watson did what any officer would do. When you see that, you have to intervene."

Brewer said he felt like he had to intervene, too. Brewer said he's no hero -- he just did the right thing.

"If I didn't do that, I'm not sure I could've laid down tonight and felt like a man," he said.

Mathis is facing numerous charges, including domestic assault, assault (on a police officer), and DUI.

Deputies said Mathis is a repeat offender. The 23-year-old was just charged with aggravated assault on Monday and domestic assault earlier this year.

Sheriff Watson released the following statement:

"I want the citizens of Cleveland/Bradley County to know that I am in good spirits, and I appreciate all the calls, texts, and emails that have been received through my office. Although I'm currently being treated for my injuries I'm still in command of the Bradley County Sheriff's Office. One of the oaths that I took while being sworn in as your Sheriff was to protect and serve this great community. Today's incident is just an example of what any officer can encounter on a daily basis. My intervening actions to disrupt that assault is what every man or woman that wears the badge is willing to do when faced with that situation. I want to personally thank my deputies that responded to the scene along with Cleveland Police Department and Charleston Police Department. Also, I want to extend my gratitude towards the firemen and Bradley County Ems who responded to the scene in order to render me medical attention."



The Bradley County Sheriff is recovering after breaking up a domestic dispute today.

It happened on 25th Street in Cleveland near Sonic.

A spokesman says Sheriff Eric Watson saw a man and woman fighting and tried to break it up when he was attacked by the man, who has been identified as 23-year-old Gregory Mathis.

A release from the Sheriff's Office says Mathis hit Sheriff Watson numerous times before biting him. He also tried choking Sheriff Watson with his own necktie.

Cleveland police officers Chris Allen and Kyle Walker responded to the scene and got involved in the scuffle.

Police were eventually able to get Mathis in custody, using several officers to actually carry him to the police cruiser.

Sheriff Watson and both officers were taken to a local hospital to be checked out. The spokesman says the Sheriff is "bruised up pretty bad" but didn't receive any life-threatening injuries. Officer Allen received a broken nose, while officer Walker received some cuts and scrapes.

The spokesman says the woman involved is okay and did not go to a hospital.

Sheriff Watson released the following statement Thursday evening:

“I want the citizens of Cleveland/Bradley County to know that I am in good spirits, and I appreciate all the calls, texts, and emails that have been received through my office. Although I’m currently being treated for my injuries I’m still in command of the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office. One of the oaths that I took while being sworn in as your Sheriff was to protect and serve this great community. Today’s incident is just an example of what any officer can encounter on a daily basis. My intervening actions to disrupt that assault is what every man or woman that wears the badge is willing to do when faced with that situation. I want to personally thank my deputies that responded to the scene along with Cleveland Police Department and Charleston Police Department. Also, I want to extend my gratitude towards the firemen and Bradley County EMS who responded to the scene in order to render me medical attention.”

Mathis is charged with Domestic Assault, Driving Under the Influence, two counts of Aggravated Assault, and Simple Assault.

Stay with WRCBtv.com for updates to this story.

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