Alert citizen helps deputies foil theft at Pine School

Published 3:32 pm Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A citizen’s alertness helped the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office spoil a theft in progress at Pine High School, according to Brent Jones, executive assistant to Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal.

Jones said that on Monday at approximately 5 a.m., Deputy Blackwell was dispatched to Pine High School in reference to a suspicious vehicle pulling around towards the back of the school.

Upon arrival, deputies confronted an individual named Henry Banard Darling standing near a Chevy pickup truck, which was parked near the welding shop located at the back of the school. Blackwell inquired why Darling was on school property at this time of the morning, and Darling reportedly said he was there to pick up some angle iron for his friend.

Jones said that Blackwell obtained Darling’s driver’s license so he could conduct a warrant check. At this point, Lt. Brumfield arrived on scene and began a check of the outside of the building to determine if any damage was obvious. Brumfield observed a piece of steel pipe laying near Darling’s vehicle and also observed one piece of angle iron in the back of his vehicle, Jones said.

WPSO Communications advised that Darling had valid attachments for contempt of court (carless operation of a motor vehicle and operating a vehicle in an unsafe condition). Jones said that Darling informed deputies that he wasn’t going to let them take him to jail.

As Blackwell ordered Darling to place his hands behind him, Darling resisted, Jones said. Blackwell and Brumfield attempted to gain control of Darling but were unable to, and he was subsequently tased. Undeterred, Darling continued to resist and was tased a second time, Jones said. At this point Darling was handcuffed and moved to the backseat of Blackwell’s patrol vehicle.

Blackwell reportedly received minor injuries as a result of the physical struggle with Darling. As Blackwell and Brumfield secured the scene, another WPSO deputy arrived and he observed Darling, while in the backseat of the patrol vehicle, had been able to maneuver his arms from behind his back to the front of his body. Blackwell and Sgt. Cupp ordered Darling to exit the vehicle so they could reposition his handcuffs, Jones said. Again, Darling refused the deputies’ order. As Darling was being removed from the backseat, he reportedly lunged at Blackwell and head butted him on the left side of his nose and face, causing Blackwell to bleed from his nose. Cupp was then able to re-position the handcuffs and put Darling back into the patrol vehicle.

Darling was transported to the parish jail for booking. Upon arrival, Warden Miller and Corrections Officer Smith were waiting to help escort Darling inside the jail. As Darling was being escorted into the jail he continued to resist and began spitting in the deputies face, Jones said.

Darling was arrested for three counts of resisting a police officer with force/violence, two counts of simple battery, two counts of simple escape, one count of theft of $750 or less and one count of unauthorized entry of a place of business.

“I appreciate the fine work of our deputies in taking this thief into custody,” Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal said. “I am happy that our deputy only received minor injuries, but it could have been much worse. I also want to thank the citizen who reported the suspicious activity. If you see something, say something.”