A Texas National Guard convoy transporting doses of the COVID-19 vaccine was ambushed and temporarily halted Monday morning by an armed man in west Texas, according to police.
The convoy was ambushed by Larry Lee Harris, 66, who started following three National Guard vans after they stopped at a gas station, and attempted to run their vehicles off the road multiple times, Idalou Police Chief Eric Williams said in a statement. The incident was first reported by The Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Monday afternoon.
According to Williams:
After that unsuccessful attempt, Harris turned his vehicle into oncoming traffic and stopped in front of the three National Guard vans, He got out of his truck and aimed his .45 caliber handgun at an unarmed National Guard soldier. Harris then claimed to be a detective and demanded that he search the vehicle and ordered the Guardsmen out of the vehicle at gunpoint.
At this time, Idalou police received a call and rushed to the scene, which took place about two miles east of Idalou on highway 62/82.
Upon arrival the Idalou Police officers were met by several uniformed National Guard Soldiers and Harris, who police took into custody “without further incident.” No Guardsmen were injured. Harris was in possession of a loaded Colt 1911 .45 caliber pistol and an additional loaded magazine and had another loaded magazine in his truck.
After being detained, Harris told police that he followed the National Guard Soldiers from a Love’s gas station in Lubbock, claiming that the people in the vans had “kidnapped a woman and a child,” according to the police chief’s report.
Williams added that Harris appeared to be “mentally disturbed.”
Harris, who has an Arizona address, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, unlawful restraint of 11 National Guard soldiers, unlawful carrying of a weapon, impersonating a public servant and interference with Texas Military Forces, according to jail records. He is being held at the Lubbock County Jail on a federal hold with no bond set, according to jail records.
“This was a very dangerous situation since the suspect was standing in the midst of the unarmed Guardsman with a loaded weapon then the Idalou Officers arrived on scene,” Williams said. “We are grateful that the officers were able to take him into custody without any of the Guardsmen, the officers or the suspect getting hurt.”
Homeland Security has joined in the investigation, authorities said.
Neither the Texas National Guard nor the National Guard Bureau immediately responded to requests for comment.
Lianna Brown is an editorial intern at Military Times. She is studying government and politics at George Mason University.