Larry Harris: Arizona man arrested for holding 11 National Guard members transporting Covid-19 vaccines at gunpoint

The 66-year-old suspect named Larry Harris, who said he stopped the vans carrying the vaccine thinking they had kidnapped people inside, is believed to be mentally disturbed


                            Larry Harris: Arizona man arrested for holding 11 National Guard members transporting Covid-19 vaccines at gunpoint
Larry Harris (Lubbock County Detention Center) and a vaccine phial (Getty Images)

A man from Arizona has been arrested on charges of forcing a National Guard (NG) convoy carrying Covid-19 vaccines off the road in West Texas and then holding 11 NG personnel at gunpoint. According to Associated Press, the man identified as Larry Harris told the police that he stopped three vans believing that they were transporting a kidnapped woman and child, according to authorities. The NG members did not suffer any injury and Harris, 66, was arrested on Tuesday morning after the law-enforcement responded to the scene. 

According to the police, Harris went after the NG vans from a gas station and attempted to run them off the roadway many times before driving his vehicle into oncoming traffic to stop the vans. He subsequently pointed a gun at an unarmed NG official, identified himself as a detective and wanted to search the vehicles. He also asked at gunpoint the other unarmed guardsmen to come out of their vehicles.

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“Harris pointed a gun at a National Guard Soldier, identified himself as a detective, and demanded to search the vehicles,” a statement from Eric C. Williams, chief of Idalou Police, Texas, said. Personnel from Idalou Police along with deputies from the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene and police said Harris had three loaded guns with him. 

Harris was arrested on charges of aggravated assault with a weapon, unlawfully restraining 11 NG soldiers and unlawfully carrying a weapon, impersonating a public servant and interfering with Texas Military Forces. The case was being investigated by the Idalou Police. 

Williams said on Tuesday that he had no idea about the basis of Harris’s kidnapping idea and that the accused was talking erratically after being taken into custody. 

Accused mentally disturbed?

“Mr. 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 when the Idalou Officers arrived on scene. 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,” Williams added. 

The state law sets out a procedure whereby a judge, a jail official or a suspect’s attorney can seek a mental health examination, Lubbock County Assistant District Attorney Ashley Davis said. He though was not sure if the same had been done with Harris. The AP report said Michelle Daniel, spokesperson for the county’s detention center where Harris has been locked up, refused to reveal if a mental examination for Harris had been sought.

Erin Dooley, US attorney's office spokeswoman, said she had no details on the matter.