Fugitive Arrest in Chaptico Sends Mom, Son to Jail, 3 Police to Hospital

Arrest attempt results in three police being sent to hospital; Suspect's mother arrested for obstruction

LEONARDTOWN, Md. - According to the St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office, deputies responded to a Chaptico residence after receiving information that a wanted person was inside. The suspect was identified as John Lee Farrell Jr., age 24 of Chaptico.

Upon arrival, deputies set up a perimeter around the home. Farrell was observed in the basement area. Deputies then attempted to enter the house through a rear door. However, the door was found to have been fortified and they were unable to enter through it.

According to police, Farrell then fled to the top floor. Several deputies entered the home through the front door, while others maintained a perimeter around the house.

Farrell was located in the attic by Sheriff's Office K-9 Frigo and support Deputies. Police say that after numerous K-9 commands and warnings were ignored, K-9 Frigo was released upon Farrell. Farrell still failed to comply and a physical altercation ensued between him and Deputy Gerhardt. The struggle became extremely violent.

Farrell and the deputies who were in the attic ended up falling through the ceiling. The fall caused incapacitating injuries to Deputy Cathcart. Deputy Fleenor and K-9 Handler Deputy David Gerhardt where hanging from the ceiling. Both received minor injuries and both refused medical treatment.

Police say that after falling through the ceiling, Farrell next encountered Deputy Maguire in the hallway. Another violent confrontation ensued during which time Farrell was able to disarm Deputy Maguire causing the weapon to become free on the floor of the room. The struggle continued for several moments until other Deputies and a Maryland State Trooper were able to assist.

According to police, officers were further hindered by Farrell's mother, Sheila Loise Farrell, as she photographed the incident and yelled and screamed at the officers. Officers say that when they attempted to safeguard the evidence she was capturing, she tried to destroy it by smashing the camera.

Farrell was wanted for Burglary First and Third Degree, Theft under $100.00, Property Destruction, Trespassing (three counts), Burglary Fourth Degree, and Resisting Arrest. Additional charges of Disarming a Police Officer (Felony), four counts of Resisting Arrest, and four counts of Assault Second Degree were placed on Farrell as a result of the events that occurred during the arrest.

Sheila Farrell was arrested and charged with three counts of Hindering/Obstruction of Justice.

Sheriff's Office Deputies Shawn Cathcart and James Maguire, along with a Maryland State Trooper from the Leonardtown Barrack, were flown to Prince George's Shock Trauma for Treatment. Their current condition is not considered life threatening.

According to prior reports, police had responded to an unspecified Chaptico residence in July 2005 on a report that Farrell was in violation of a protective order. Farrell was not found at the residence, but the police report alleges that he had threatened to commit suicide. Police reportedly located him later that day and took him to St. Mary’s hospital for an evaluation.

UPDATE Sat. Dec. 9 @ 1:30 p.m.: All deputies have been treated and released from the hospital. Deputy Shawn Cathcart received a separated shoulder, severely bruised ribs and numerous minor injuries. Deputy James Maguire suffered a broken hand and contusions as well. The St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office thanks the public for their outpour of support and inquires into the condition of the Deputies who were injured. The Sheriff's Office also thanks the members of the Maryland State Police Barrack "T", Leonardtown who quickly responded to the aid of the Officers requesting assistance, one of which was also injured.

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