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Security Guard Chases Man Who Allegedly Brought Heroin Into Courthouse

Reported: Feb. 25, 2014 1:37 PM EST
Updated: Feb. 26, 2014 8:08 AM EST
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (Darrah Wilcox) -- Cabell County courthouse security guard Brandon Byrd said Monday started out pretty typically, checking people in through the magistrate court entrance at the courthouse.

Byrd's routine changed dramatically when one man approached.

"I asked him to empty everything out of his pockets," he said.

Byrd said he noticed a bag filled with a white powdery substance.

"He then got real nervous. He told me it was weight-loss powder. I asked a Huntington police officer who was standing next to me what he thought it was, and he said it looks like heroin, and by that time, the guy was taking off out the door," Byrd said.

Police said Roy Harrington took off up the ramp, across the courthouse law, and down Fourth Avenue, but Byrd and the Huntington Police Department officer were close behind.

"He got about a minute head start, but I stayed pretty calm, just focused on trying to track him down. We found him a couple doors down from BW3s, in 3 1/2 alley."

A police officer used a Taser on the suspect three times to take him into custody.

Byrd's only been on the job six months, but this wasn't his first courthouse chase.

Courthouse security supervising deputy Mike Adkins said Byrd has shown calm action in a similar situation before "so I was a little more at ease knowing that it was him."

In October, Byrd helped chase an inmate who escaped police custody.

"I always wanted to get into a career of law enforcement. Help the people. Help everybody out in the town I live in," he said.

Security guard Ed Haun said while the situation sounds unusual, it's actually not uncommon.

"The drug problem in not only Cabell County, but the state and the country, is rampant. We are always, always, on alert to protect our public and to protect the employees at the Cabell County courthouse," Haun said.

Haun said Byrd did a fantastic job handling the situation Monday.

"We're extremely proud of him. We handle things like this almost weekly. You can pick any day you want, and something is always going on at the Cabell County Courthouse, so we're always on high alert," he said.

Byrd said he takes his job very seriously.

"We're the first line of defense, so if we can stop anything from coming into the courthouse, it's going to get stopped at the door, whether it be weapons, narcotics, anything of that nature. We've got to keep the courthouse safe and protect the people in here," he said.

Harrington is charged with drug possession, fleeing and obstruction.



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