Sheriff: Jefferson Parish man arrested after trying to cut Varnado police chief

Published 2:35 pm Wednesday, January 30, 2019

A Jefferson Parish man was arrested Monday after attempting to cut Varnado Police Chief Louis Adams with a knife, according to Chief Deputy Mike Haley of the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Haley said that WPSO patrol deputies Justin Blackwell and James Gregorio responded to a report Monday of a man causing a disturbance with passing traffic on Highway 21 in Varnado. While responding to the scene, the deputies were informed that Varnado Police Chief Louis Adams was fighting with the male subject.

When the deputies arrived on the scene, they observed the man running towards a wooded area with a knife in his hand. When Blackwell caught up with the man, he ordered him at gunpoint to drop the knife. Instead, the man placed the knife in his front pocket. Blackwell and Gregorio then wrestled the combative man to the ground and placed him in handcuffs, Haley said.

Joseph Demary reportedly used this box-cutter knife in an attempt to stab Varnado Police Chief Louis Adams.

The deputies learned that previously the man made entry to a residence without permission and told the homeowner someone was trying to kill him. Adams had responded to the residence and escorted the man outside, at which time the man produced the knife and attempted to cut Adams, Haley said.

“The man ran away and entered another residence, repeating his allegation that someone was attempting to kill him,” Haley said. “He then fled the residence and ran toward nearby woods, at which time he was subdued by Deputies Blackwell and Gregorio.”

The man was identified as Joseph Henry Demary, 33, a resident of River Ridge. When questioned by Blackwell, Demary admitted that he had been consuming crystal meth, Haley said.

“As he was being transported to the jail, Demary begin kicking at the doors and windows of the patrol vehicle in an attempt to free himself,” Haley said. “Deputy Blackwell then stopped his vehicle and, with the assistance of officers of the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office Drug Task Force, placed Demary in leg shackles in addition to his handcuffs.

“When Demary arrived at the Washington Parish Jail, he continued to be physically aggressive and had to be subdued and restrained by jail officers before being placed in a cell.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, Demary remained in the Washington Parish Jail, charged with obstructing a public passage, two counts of unauthorized entry into an inhabited dwelling, resisting an officer by force or violence, resisting an officer by flight on foot and aggravated assault upon a peace officer. His bond was set at $50,000.

“This situation could have gone bad very quickly,” Sheriff Randy Seal said. “While under the influence of illegal narcotics, Demary posed a real and substantial threat to residents and to officers who arrived on the scene. The box cutter knife he wielded had the potential of inflicting serious wounds to the officers who eventually subdued him. Kudos to Deputy Blackwell, Deputy Gregorio and Chief Adams for being able to apprehend Demary without injury to anyone.

“This is an ongoing problem faced daily by our fine jail staff. Persons under the influence of illegal drugs and persons with mental health issues must be properly cared for. With few resources at their disposal, our nurse and jail officers do an outstanding job of managing such persons.

“Just in the last three years, 639 inmates were placed on detox protocols for significant drug or alcohol abuse. In addition, 76 inmates were referred for mental health evaluations. We must never, ever, underestimate the valuable services provided by our jail staff.”