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Man Attacks, Attempts To Strangle Deputy

Last updated on Friday, March 30, 2012

(BLOOMINGTON) - A Monroe County deputy was seriously injured on Thursday in a scuffle with a suspect being transported to the Monroe County Jail.

Monroe County Sheriff Jim Kennedy say Brandon Helms, 27, Gosport, had been arrested in connection with a domestic disturbance in Bloomington and was being taken to the Monroe County Jail when he attacked Deputy Beverly McKnight.

Kennedy says Helms was handcuffed behind his back and in a seat belt as he rode in the back of the county's SUV.

"Somehow he was able to get his hands in front of him and reach forward to get his arms around Deputy McKnight's neck, pulling her up from her seat and then started to go for her gun," Kennedy says.

Jack Pursley, who is an employee at Bloomington Auto Color was standing at the corner of 7th and Adams streets when he saw Helms struggling with the officer.

"He had his handcuffs around her neck and was strangling her," Pursley says.

As McKnight and Helms both struggled to reach for her gun, a shot was fired inside the vehicle, narrowly missing McKnight's leg,

Moments later, McKnight was able to get out of the SUV and yell for help.

Pursley credited a stranger, a man mowing a nearby lawn, for quickly coming to the McKnight's aid.

"She pulled in right there and threw the doors open and screamed. (The man) started helping her," Pursley said. "The gentleman mowing the yard was a hero."

Helms ran from the scene, but was found hiding beneath a shed in a nearby yard.

McKnight was hospitalized with serious neck and torso injuries, and is listed in stable condition.

Helms suffered a broken leg and was taken back into custody.

He was initially arrested on domestic battery and intimidation charges, but now faces several felony charges including attempted murder, escape, attempted disarming a police officer, resisting law enforcement, battery on a police officer and intimidation.



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