Larry Harris allegedly told police he believed people in the National Guard vans had kidnapped a woman and a child. Photo courtesy of the Lubbock County Detention Center
March 23 (UPI) -- Police in northwest Texas have arrested a man they said forced three National Guard vans carrying COVID-19 vaccines to stop on a highway and held up 11 soldiers at gunpoint.
Idalou police Chief Eric Williams said officers arrested Larry Harris, 66, Monday after he attempted to run the National Guard vans off the road multiple times before turning into oncoming traffic, forcing the vans to stop on U.S. Highway 62/82 just east of the city.
Harris allegedly pointed a loaded .45-caliber Colt 1911 pistol at the guardsmen and demanded to search one of the vehicles. Williams said Harris told the soldiers he was a detective and he believed the people in the vans had kidnapped a woman and a child.
"Mr. Harris appeared to be mentally disturbed," the chief said. "This was a very dangerous situation since the suspect was standing in the midst of the unarmed guardsman with a loaded weapon."
Idalou police officers responded to the scene and took Harris, of Wilcox, Ariz., into custody. No one involved was injured. In addition to the pistol, police said Harris had a loaded magazine on his person and an additional loaded magazine in his truck.
He was 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.
"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.
The Idalou Police Department, Lubbock County Sheriff's Office and Homeland Security Investigations were investigating the case.
The National Guard vans were transporting COVID-19 vaccines to a location in Matador, Texas,