02/23/07 — Suspect will face charges in gun grab

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Suspect will face charges in gun grab

By Lee Williams
Published in News on February 23, 2007 1:53 PM

Attempted first-degree murder now tops the list of charges lodged against a man who allegedly managed to grab a policeman's gun and a knife during a scuffle at the county magistrate's office Tuesday.

The charge was filed against Robert Edward Dukes, 30, of East Ash Street, after he allegedly assaulted Goldsboro police Officer Chris Crawford, grabbed a knife, snatched his gun and fired two rounds inside the copier room at the Wayne County Magistrate's Office.

One of the .40-caliber bullets fired from the officer's gun pierced a peg board inside the copier room, a bathroom wall and lodged into another bathroom wall in the office. The second bullet hit the floor in the copier room and ricocheted off the wall.

No one was shot, but both men were injured in the scuffle. Crawford was bitten and Dukes' face was cut during the fight. Both received medical treatment at Wayne Memorial Hospital.

Crawford was treated and released, but Dukes had been kept overnight.

According to police, Dukes had been brought into the magistrate's office shortly before midnight after he was arrested for assault inflicting serious injury, kidnapping, common law robbery and assault by strangulation. The charges stem from a report filed Feb. 20, police said.

Crawford was attempting to complete the arrest process when the tussle ensued with the 6 foot, 150-pound suspect. Dukes was eventually subdued with the help of Wayne County Sheriff's Detention Officer Doug Honeycutt.

Magistrate Judge Melinda Jordan, who was working that night, detailed the ordeal in a written report. Ms. Jordan heard Crawford and Dukes discussing the suspect's handcuffs before the fight broke out.

"As they were passing by the front of my desk, (the) subject said, 'Man, what are you doing?" the report said. "Officer Crawford said in a calm and almost helpful tone, 'I'm not doing nothing. I'm just trying to help you with these cuffs.'"

Ms. Jordan heard a chair overturn in the back office and saw the flag and pole rocking back and forth which signaled there was a problem.

Crawford yelled for help. Ms. Jordan complied and then intervened.

She tried to pry Dukes' hands away from the officer's gun holster, but Crawford urged her to retreat.

"Officer Crawford told me, 'get away. He's got a knife," the report states.

Jordan cleared the lobby filled with people and the front steps in front of the building to give responding officers immediate access.

Honeycutt arrived first to help subdue the subject. Goldsboro police Officer Brandon Harper arrived next and found Dukes being detained by a jail officer in the copier room in the magistrate's office. Crawford was in the back office in an apparent state of exhaustion, the police report said.

Senior Magistrate Judge Bill Buchanan lauded the work of the deputy, magistrate judge and the police officer for addressing the problem.

"Based on the information that I received, every agency involved did an outstanding job of getting a dangerous situation under control," Buchanan said. "Melinda Jordan got everyone out of harm's way, so that the officer could deal with the suspect and no citizen was injured."