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Arizona Man Held 11 National Guardsmen At Gunpoint, Pretended to Be Detective

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An Arizona man allegedly ambushed a National Guard convoy carrying COVID-19 vaccines Monday morning near Lubbock, Texas, ordering them out of their vehicles at gunpoint and demanding to conduct a search as a “detective.”

Idalou Police Chief Eric Williams on Tuesday said Larry Lee Harris, 66, of Wilcox, Arizona, was arrested right after the incident and is being held at Lubbock County Detention Center. Williams allegedly followed the National Guardsmen convoy as they sought to bring COVID-19 vaccines between Lubbock and Matador, Texas. He tried running the three vans off the road and later told police he believed the vans contained a kidnapped woman and child.

Williams described Harris as “mentally disturbed” but did not downplay the seriousness and level of danger created by his ambush of the National Guard convoy.

A member of the National Guard gives instructions to a man in a truck at the drive-thru Covid-19 testing site at Memorial Park on July 2, 2020 in central El Paso, Texas. As coronavirus cases have surged in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott has paused the state’s reopening plan.
CENGIZ YAR / Stringer/Getty Images

“Mr. Harris attempted multiple times to run the vans driven by the National Guard Soldiers off the road,” Williams said during a Tuesday press conference. He noted that Harris deliberately placed his vehicle into oncoming traffic in order to successfully block and stop the convoy of 11 guardsmen.

“Harris pointed a gun at a National Guard soldier, identified himself as a detective, and then demanded to search the vehicles,” Williams continued, noting the guardsmen were unarmed and complied with Harris’ angry demands to exit the vehicle at gunpoint. Investigators say they don’t think the presence of vaccines was the reason Harris ambushed the convoy. He described the Arizona suspect and resident as “mentally erratic” and who believed he was about to intervene in a kidnapping attempt.

“You know the question was asked whether or not he was after the COVID-19 vaccine. As far as we know, he was thinking that someone had been kidnapped,” the Idalou police chief said.

Idalou police said that Harris began aggressively following the convoy for several miles, including a brief interaction at a Love’s Travel Stop station in East Regis, Texas. He made numerous attempts to run the National Guardsmen vans off U.S. Route 62/82 before his desperate maneuver to block their passage. No injuries were reported as a result of the incident, police said.

“Harris appeared to be mentally disturbed. This was a very dangerous situation since the suspect was standing in the midst of the unarmed Guardsman with a loaded weapon,” Williams said. “We are grateful that the officers were able to take him into custody without any of the Guardsmen, the officers or the suspect getting hurt.”

Harris now faces a slew of charges including interference with Texas military forces, impersonating a public servant, unlawful carrying of a weapon, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and unlawful restraint.

The Liberty Buzz reached out to local police in Idalou for any additional remarks about the incident Tuesday afternoon.

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