Man charged in Lee County hostage incident

Sheena Barnett | Daily Journal Police recovered 12 guns and other items from Harold D. Scruggs, who faces several charges after a Friday night stand-off.

Sheena Barnett | Daily Journal
Police recovered 12 guns and other items from Harold D. Scruggs, who faces several charges after a Friday night stand-off.

By Sheena Barnett

Daily Journal

TUPELO – A Saltillo man has been charged following a more than five-hour stand off in Lee County this weekend.

Harold D. Scruggs, also known as Dee Mallette, 32, has been charged with domestic violence aggravated assault, kidnapping, simple assault on a police officer and three counts of aggravated assault on a police officer.

His bond was set at $1 million on Tuesday.

The incident began at 7:02 p.m. on Friday in the Spring Hill community in Lee County. Officers responded to a domestic violence call, and an injured woman was taken from the scene and transported to North Mississippi Medical Center. Scruggs fled the scene to a heavily wooded area, according to Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson.

He then took shelter in a make-shift shop, where he fired a shot toward Lee County deputies and made threats toward the deputies and himself, Johnson said.

Scruggs then moved to his residence on County Road 1389, where Lee County’s SWAT team arrived at 8:30 p.m. A negotiator attempted to speak with Scruggs, who continued to threaten the police.

He then said he had a hostage, who Johnson would not identify but said she was an acquaintance. Scruggs said he would use her as a human shield, Johnson said.

SCRUGGS

SCRUGGS

The suspect also called 911 and said he’d hurt anyone who attempted to approach the house.

At about 10 p.m., Scruggs fired another shot toward deputies, and more negotiation attempts were made.

At 12:40 a.m., police used tear gas to clear the suspect and the hostage out of the house. Scruggs used the woman as a shield to exit the house, where deputies took the hostage to safety and arrested Scruggs, Johnson said.

North Mississippi Medical Center treated both the hostage and Scruggs for tear gas exposure and the hostage was released to her family.

No one was injured during the incident.

At a news conference on Monday, Johnson displayed Scruggs’ arsenal, which included 12 guns, night vision and infrared goggles and scopes.

Johnson said Scruggs has a criminal record and that he has been known to take drugs, but it’s not clear yet if drugs or alcohol played a part in Friday night’s events.

“This was a great threat, not only to our department but our community,” Johnson said. “He poses a great threat.”

sheena.barnett@journalinc.com