(NEW YORK) — A police cruiser’s dashcam caught an Idaho police officer fending off an ambush from a fugitive hiding in the trunk of his mother’s car during a traffic stop Monday night.
Lewiston police officer Thomas Woods stopped a vehicle for not having license plates, after it had left “a residence known to be frequented by wanted fugitive, 20-year-old Jesse Harrell,” the Lewiston Police Department said in a statement.
Officer Woods was interviewing the vehicle’s driver, Angelia Barnett-Harrell, 47, when he heard a noise in the trunk. He asked Barnett-Harrell if her son was in the trunk, to which she immediately responded, “It’s a toy gun, don’t shoot him,” according to police.
Officer Woods then saw the trunk open slightly. He called for immediate back-up and proceeded to the back of the car to secure the trunk area.
“Jesse Harrell sprung the trunk lid open while holding a firearm in his hand,” according to the police statement. “Officer Woods immediately attempted to gain control of Mr. Harrell and they fell to the ground, where Ofc. Woods was able to strip the firearm away from Jesse Harrell. Mr. Harrell continued to try and punch and spit on Ofc. Woods until other officers arrived on scene and were able to handcuff Mr. Harrell.”
Harrell, according to police, “remained very belligerent and resistive, even when placed in the patrol car.”
Police said “it was determined that the firearm that Mr. Harrell had in his hand was a toy, but had the appearance of an actual firearm.”
Two officers received minor injuries during the altercation, but no one was taken to the hospital, police said.
Harrell was taken to Nez Perce County Jail and booked on outstanding warrants, including one for aggravated assault, and new charges of resisting/obstructing a police officer, battery on an officer, and possession of a concealed weapon, since set of brass knuckles were found on Harrell, police said.
His mother was booked on harboring a fugitive and possession of methamphetamine.
It was unclear if either had a lawyer.
In its statement, the Lewiston Police Department said this incident reflects the dangers law enforcement officers face.
“With the recent ambush shootings of multiple police officers throughout the United States in the last few days, this video is a reminder that officers face dangerous situations everyday and they have to make split-second decisions on how to handle the situation, especially when dealing with suspects who appear to be armed or those hiding in wait for officers,” read the statement.
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