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Dramatic Video Captures Defendant Lunging For Gun In Oregon Courtroom
A judge had denied a request by deputies to restrain Scott Patrick Lemmon before the incident, the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office said.
A dramatic moment in an Oregon courtroom was caught on video when a defendant lunged to grab a nearby officer's gun.
The defendant, who has been identified as Scott Patrick Lemmon, 27, was tackled to the ground and quickly subdued before any shots were fired.
Lemmon allegedly lunged at a Newport police officer who had been sitting at the counsel table preparing to testify in the trial, but the officer was able to jump up away from Lemmon, according to a statement from the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office.
The sheriff's department credited the officer's quick response and the response of jail deputies, who tackled Lemmon to the ground, with preventing a potential tragedy.
"There would have been a shootout in the courthouse," Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Josh McDowall told The Oregonian. "I don't like to think about it. It would have been scary."
Lemmon was on trial for charges of robbery, burglary, theft, two counts of menacing and four counts of coercion. He was later convicted on all the charges against him, the sheriff's office said. New charges are also expected after Wednesday's attempt to grab the firearm.
The altercation occurred after a request by deputies to restrain Lemmon had been denied by the judge, the local newspaper reported.
The incident was the first time a defendant tried to grab a gun in Lincoln County since a 2017 ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided that shackling criminal defendants without a specific finding by a judge was unconstitutional, the sheriff's office said.
After the ruling, Lincoln County instituted a policy that all individuals will have a hearing in front of a judge before restraints would be placed on them. In the past, the decision had been left up to deputies.
The sheriff's office had reportedly requested that Lemmon wear an "electronic restraint" that would be placed on his ankle and underneath his pants and would give deputies the ability to shock him remotely with the press of a button, according to The Oregonian.
The deputies believed Lemmon could have been a high-risk because he was frequently swiveling in his chair and moving around.
"They were catching him paying extra close attention to the officer's gun" McDowall told the newspaper.
The judge, however, ruled against the request.
Although the incident was frightening, the sheriff's office reported there were no significant injuries. Medical staff at the jail did treat one of the deputies for minor scrapes and abrasions.
[Photo: Associated Press]