A mall shoplifter struck a security officer with his car and struggled with police while trying to escape arrest last week, police said this morning in a news release.
Barry T. Gray, 46, 401 E. Myrtle Ave., was arrested Nov. 9 following a series of incidents that began at the Belk store in the Mall at Johnson City and ended with the police struggle on Mockingbird Lane.
Police were initially called to the mall to investigate a shoplifting complaint, but before they arrived, a Belk loss prevention officer approached Gray and he became combative and threatened the store official before going outside to his car, police said.
Mall security officers arrived and tried to detain Gray until police arrived. Gray got in his car with a female passenger and backed the car up at high speed. He struck a security officer twice. As he drove out of the parking lot, police arrived and tried to stop him, but he refused until the car finally stopped at Mall Street and Mockingbird Lane, police said.
Police ordered Gray and his passenger out of the car, and he initially refused before lunging at an officer from the car, leading to a struggle. Gray was finally detained and had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath. Police found two open containers of alcohol in the car, according to the news release.
Police returned the original item taken from Belk, a $68 bottle of cologne, to the store.
Gray was charged with DUI, felony evading arrest, resisting arrest, aggravated assault with a vehicle, reckless endangerment, violation of the open container law and misdemeanor shoplifting. He was jailed in the Washington County Detention Center on $71,000 bond and scheduled for arraignment Tuesday in Sessions Court.