Officer stabbed, assaulted by suspect

Dec. 13, 2012 @ 07:28 AM

Rutherfordton police officer Dustin Owens was assaulted by a patient who fled from the emergency room at Rutherford Regional Medical Center Wednesday at about 4:15 p.m.

According to the Rutherford County Sheriff Chris Francis, the patient, Lloyd Neil Carswell, 44, of Powerhouse Road in Morganton, was being seen in the emergency room, when suddenly he fled the hospital on foot, wearing a hospital gown. 

Carswell is now in the Rutherford County Detention Facility where he was being interviewed by detectives late Wednesday night.

According to Francis, a hospital employee reported a patient had fled the hospital and Rutherfordton police officers and sheriff’s officers started toward the scene shortly after 4 p.m.

Owens located the suspect on NC 108 near Piedmont Road, Francis said, and when Owens approached him, the suspect begin assaulting him in the face and tried to get his service pistol.

Owens tried to free himself from the subject by taking the knife he was carrying and striking the suspect in the shoulder area.

After the altercation, the suspect ran west on NC 108 and apparently jumped into the back of a pick-up truck that was traveling east. 

Rutherfordton Police Chief Kevin Lovelace said when he arrived on the scene, some of his officers and the sheriff’s deputies were pulling the man from the truck.

“This was very scary for a while,” Lovelace said of the incident. “You just don’t expect this.”

Carswall was transported to the hospital for treatment and released into the custody of the sheriff. Charges are pending.  

Owens was also transported to the hospital where he was treated and released. 

Lovelace said he turned the investigation over to Francis since all of his officers were involved in the case.

“I decided to back away from  this... I was one of the responders to Owens... all of our people were there to assist him,” Lovelace said.

The heavily-traveled NC 108 was closed to traffic during the incident and subsequent investigation. A Lake Lure Classical Academy school bus was among vehicles stopped at the scene.

At one point more than 10 sheriff and police vehicles were at the scene.