ELKTON – A police officer suffered a concussion and other injuries when a shoplifting suspect allegedly resisted arrest at the exit doors of the Walmart in Elkton over the weekend, according to Cecil County District Court records.
Investigators identified the suspect as Jahlen Thomas Johnson, 21, of the 200 block of Patriots Way near Elkton.
During the incident, which occurred at approximately 6 p.m. on Saturday at the Walmart Supercenter in the 1000 block of East Pulaski Highway, bystanders assisted the officer by trying to detain Johnson after he broke free and by blocking him as he tried to flee, court records show.
Ofc. A. Devine of the Elkton Police Department was at the store after two Walmart loss prevention employees reported seeing a man – later identified as Johnson — remove a security wire from a printer valued at $34.88 and then attempt to walk out of the store with the merchandise without paying for it, police reported.
Devine grabbed Johnson’s arm at the outer-most door, after the suspect backed away from a loss prevention employee who had asked to see his receipt, police said. Devine clasped a handcuff on Johnson’s left wrist but, before he could secure the other one, the suspect pulled away in an attempt to flee, police added.
That led to a scuffle in which the officer and Johnson wound up on the floor, according to court records. Bystanders attempted to restrain Johnson after he was able to “spin and stand,” leaving Devine on the floor, court records allege.
Johnson broke free, however, and started to flee back into the store, police said. Devine gave chase and tackled Johnson against the door, police added.
“During the altercation, (Johnson) slammed me into the interior door, causing me to strike my head. (Johnson) then tried to flee back outside, at which point bystanders blocked him from fleeing. I then tackled him again, crashing through the sliding door . . . The subject broke free as multiple people attempted to assist in detaining him,” Devine outlines in his statement of probable cause contained in court records.
At that point, Devine took Johnson to the ground, according to police. When the suspect attempted to break free again, Devine grabbed his taser and subdued Johnson with jolts to his chest and buttocks, police reported.
Devine handcuffed Johnson, who then was secured in a patrol vehicle by an assisting officer.
“Throughout the altercation, (Johnson) swung his arms with a closed fist in a clear and deliberate attempt to assault me in an attempt to escape. Throughout the incident, multiple customers stopped to see what was happening, as we were at the main door to a large business,” Devine alleges in court records.
Devine went to Union Hospital in Elkton, where he received medical treatment for “abrasions and bruises” to both elbows, his left knee, his left shoulder, both hands, his right wrist and his head,” according to court records.
“I was also diagnosed with a concussion,” Devine reported in court records.
Johnson remained in the Cecil County Detention Center without bond on Tuesday night, a day after his bail review hearing, court records show.
Scheduled for a Feb. 5 trial, Johnson is facing six charges, including resisting arrest, obstructing & hindering, theft and second-degree assault on a law enforcement officer, which is a felony, according to court records.