A Waycross man was arrested Wednesday evening after he tried to attack Ware County deputies with a shovel and a knife and threatened to ignite a propane tank with a grill lighter in his hand, said Ware County Sheriff’s Capt. Neil Skerratt.
Earl Morris Crews, 59, of the 1000 block of New Mexico Avenue, is in the Ware County jail, charged with felony aggravated assault on a peace officer and felony arson in the first degree, said Skerratt.
After being subdued and taken into custody at about 9 p.m., Crews was transported to the emergency room at Memorial Satilla Health for examination and observation. Skerratt said he was booked at the Ware County jail about 10 a.m. Thursday after being released from the hospital.
Ware deputies were dispatched to the 1000 block of New Mexico Avenue Wednesday evening in reference to a man who was acting suspiciously. Skerratt said that when Deputy Anthony Phillips arrived and approached an outbuilding shop where Crews was, he heard Crews shouting profanities in a drunken slur.
“He came out of the shop toward the deputy. Then he picked up a shovel and threw it at the deputy and approached the deputy with a serrated knife in his hand,” said Skerratt. “He walked back toward the shop and closed the door, then began wielding a shovel when backup deputies arrived. The deputies heard the sound of hissing and then saw a yellow glow that appeared to be a fire. At that point the deputies saw him holding a propane tank and a long grill lighter. Deputies approached him and used pepper spray to prevent him from starting a fire.”
Skerratt said Crews fell to the floor and several deputies were then able to handcuff him. He was immediately taken to the hospital for evaluation.
“It was only by the grace of God and the deputies showing great restraint and discretion — and their training — that helped this situation to end well,” said Skerratt. “We had to use force to restrain him but he is now in the jail.”