Stranded motorist arrested after struggle over officer's gun

Becky Campbell • Feb 21, 2014 at 9:45 PM

A Greene County man wanted on an aggravated robbery charge in Kingsport was arrested Thursday morning along Interstate 26 in Johnson City after he wrecked his car and tried to grab an officer’s gun during a struggle.

Police also discovered three loaded weapons — one in the man’s pocket, another in his waistband and a third in the vehicle — as well as ammunition, marijuana, cocaine and Lortab.

Anthony D. Williams, 27, 1107 Woodlawn Drive, Greeneville, was charged with aggravated assault, three counts of possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, three counts of possession of a handgun during the commission of a dangerous felony, possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of hydrocodone with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, resisting arrest and evading arrest.

The incident started after JCPD Investigator Thomas Garrison, in plain clothes and an unmarked cruiser, saw a vehicle wrecked in the median of I-26 around 11:45 a.m. as he drove to work.

Garrison pulled over to help and found a man and woman standing outside the vehicle. Another motorist stopped at the crash and told Garrison the driver, later identified as Williams, was traveling east on the interstate, swerving across the road and driving very fast prior to the wreck.

While Garrison waited for a marked patrol unit to arrive to work the wreck, he asked Williams for his driver’s license, but Williams said he didn’t have it. Garrison ran Williams’ Social Security number through a state database and discovered his license was revoked and he was wanted by Kingsport police for aggravated robbery.

Officer David Tranbarger arrived on the scene about the time Garrison discovered the outstanding warrant. The officers started arrest Williams, but that’s when he jerked away and tried to run off, police said.

Tranbarger and Garrison took Williams to the ground and gave him commands to stop resisting and put his hands behind his back. The warrant said Williams would not do that and even got his hand on Garrison’s service weapon at one point.

“I felt something tugging on my belt on the right side of my body. I reached for my gun with my right hand and felt Williams’ hand on my gun’s grip. I yelled to Officer Tranbarger that Williams had my gun,” Garrison wrote in the warrant charging Williams.

He couldn’t pry Williams’ hand off the gun and also could not reach his backup weapon because of they way he had Williams pinned to the ground.

During the struggle, Garrison had Williams in a headlock and Tranbarger was on the man’s back. All the while, Williams was struggling and reaching for Garrison’s gun, the warrant said.

An off-duty Washington County sheriff’s deputy was on the interstate and saw what was happening, so he stopped to assist the Johnson City officers.

Once Williams was in handcuffs, Garrison and Tranbarger found a loaded .32-caliber revolver in the man’s pocket, a loaded .45-caliber handgun in the waistband of his pants, a pouch of ammunition in his back pocket, a small container of crack cocaine, another container with 27 grams of crack cocaine and a pill bottle with more than 100 hydrocodone pills in it.

The officers searched Williams’ car and found a loaded .38-caliber revolver, more ammunition and 19 grams of marijuana.

Williams was arraigned on the charges in Washington County Sessions Court on Friday morning and was being held on $101,000 bond. He has a court hearing scheduled for Thursday at 9 a.m.

According to records at the Kingsport Police Department, Williams was wanted in their jurisdiction for incidents occurring on Jan. 30 and Feb. 14.

On Jan. 31, police were called to Holston Valley Medical Center to speak with the victim of an assault. She claimed that the night before she had spotted Williams, whom she used to go to high school with, in the parking lot of Food City on Clinchfield Street.

The woman told police that Williams sat in her car to talk to her, at which point she observed a black handgun in his waistband. When she asked what it was for, according to the police report, Williams told her, “Don’t worry about why I’ve got it.”

Moments later, the woman told police, she felt something “hit the right side of her head and she began to lose consciousness.” She said that when she came to more than five hours had passed, while $6 cash was missing from her purse. She also identified 19 Xanax pills and six Subutex pills as stolen.

The other incident Williams was wanted for occurred Feb. 14 at Model City Apartments on Stonegate Road. An officer on patrol at the complex was flagged down by a man who claimed to have been robbed.

The alleged victim admitted to police that he was inside an apartment to “possibly” buy cocaine, and had left $250 lying out in the open. A man whom he only knew as Anthony, but police were able to identify as Anthony Williams, entered the residence with a white female.

According to the man’s statements, Williams picked up the cash and placed it in his pocket. Williams is alleged to have then pulled a black handgun out of his waistband and handed it to the female. While she pointed the gun at the alleged victim, Williams reportedly punched and kicked him numerous times.

When the man attempted to stand up and leave, the female again pointed the gun at him, with Williams allegedly demanding that he empty his pockets and shoes. The pair then left the apartment complex in a vehicle.

In each of those incidents Williams is charged with aggravated robbery by Kingsport police.

NET News Service Writer Rain Wilson contributed to this report.

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