Crime & Courts

Kansas jail inmate shocks officer with Taser during escape attempt, sheriff says

If you witness a crime, here’s what to do

Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity. (Nicole L. Cvetnic / McClatchy)
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Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity. (Nicole L. Cvetnic / McClatchy)

A jail inmate shocked at least one corrections officer with another officer’s Taser during a failed escape attempt, a southeast Kansas sheriff said.

Curtis Lee Harris, 40, of Chanute, “assaulted corrections officers in an attempt to escape” early Monday, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.

Harris was an inmate at the Montgomery County Jail when he used force to take a Taser from a corrections officer, the sheriff’s office said in the release. The corrections officer used pepper spray and radioed for backup.

When a backup officer arrived, Harris fired the Taser, striking the officer, the release said. A third officer then used his Taser on Harris, causing Harris to fall to the floor.

In the scuffle on the floor, corrections officers tried to gain control of Harris. But he still had the Taser and used it multiple times to shock the corrections officers, the sheriff’s office said. Harris eventually lost control of the Taser and retreated to his cell, and the door was closed behind him.

The sheriff’s office said the escape attempt went on for four minutes, and Harris was trying to get keys while also making threats to the three officers.

“The Corrections Officers acted quickly to try and gain control of the situation,” Sheriff Robert Dierks said in the release. “Their quick action and bravery when presented with an armed suspect prevented a dangerous person from escaping into the community.”

The three corrections officers sustained minor injuries, the release said. The sheriff’s office did not say whether Harris was injured.

Harris had been in jail since Wednesday on suspicion of failure to appear, records show. He now faces additional charges of attempted aggravated escape from custody, aggravated assault and criminal threat against a law enforcement officer, the sheriff’s office said.

Wichita police Officer Charley Davidson said Monday that gun owners should keep firearms safe and secure when stored in a vehicle or at home. About 250 guns have been stolen so far this year. (Nov. 19, 2018)

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