The Warrenton Police Chief’s attempts to arrest an intoxicated man resulted in an altercation with the man allegedly attempting to grab the officer’s gun and two citizens calling for backup.
According to Chief Ron Sellers, the May 22 incident with James Willis, 42, of the 4400 block of Hwy. 80 in Warrenton began at Miss Janes Restaurant when a Warren County Deputy contacted him at noon about a man causing problems at the restaurant. When the chief arrived, he says Willis was swaying and talking loudly to himself while walking down Main Street.
The chief said he approached Willis at the corner of Main and Norwood streets and observed that Willis was intoxicated and having trouble standing. The chief said he asked Willis to allow him to transport him to his mother’s house and Willis responded with profanity. “I told him he was under arrest for Public Drunkenness and grabbed his left wrist in an attempt to put his arm behind his back. He snatched away from me and grabbed my pistol in its holster on by right hip,” Sellers said. The struggle continued with Willis making several attempts to grab the gun from the chief’s holster. A passerby stopped and asked the chief it he needed help and the chief requested that he call dispatch and report that he needed assistance. Another person had seen the altercation and ran to Miss Janes where he knew deputies were eating lunch and called out to them that the police chief need help.
Sellers said three deputies—two from Warren County and one from McDuffie County—ran to the scene to him restrain Willis.
Wilis was arrested and transported to the McDuffie County Jail. He was charged with public drunkenness and felony obstruction of a police officer. His bond was set at $20,000.