A National Guard convoy transporting vaccines for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Texas on Monday was run off the road and held at gunpoint by a man named Larry Harris who allegedly told police he believed the soldiers had kidnapped a woman and child.
According to Idalou Police Chief Eric Williams, Harris from Wilcox, Ariz., followed National Guard vans from a Love’s Travel Station to a couple of miles east of Idalou, a small town around 10 miles from Lubbock, Texas. He “attempted multiple times to run the vans” off the road, Williams said, and then “turned his vehicle into oncoming traffic” and stopped the convoy.
Harris allegedly got out of his car and pointed a Colt 1911 .45 caliber pistol at one of the unarmed soldiers and identified himself as a detective. He proceeded to direct the rest of the guardsmen out of the vehicles at gunpoint and demanded to search the vans.
When Idalou officers arrived on the scene they found Harris standing in the middle of the unarmed guardsmen with his loaded pistol, Williams said, who called it a “very dangerous situation.” Harris later told officers that he believed the people in the vans had kidnapped a woman and a child, according to Williams. The Texas Military Department has not yet responded to requests for comment.
“Mr. Harris appeared to be mentally disturbed … 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,” Williams said.
Harris had a loaded pistol with extra magazines and ammunition in his truck, the chief told KAMC, an ABC affiliate station. “[W]e’re very thankful that he didn’t start shooting them,” Williams said.
Harris has been 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. The Idalou Police Department and Department of Homeland Security are investigating the incident. Williams said federal charges are expected to be brought against Harris.
None of the soldiers were injured and the vaccines were successfully delivered to their destination in Matador, Texas.
Featured photo: Larry Lee Harris. (Lubbock County Detention Center)