TN Hospital Crime Spree Led To Inmate Security Improvements


A man who overpowered a guard two years ago and escaped from Tennessee’s Metro General Hospital at Meharry faces several years in prison when he’s sentenced today. The Tennessean reports that part of his legacy in Nashville may be the security improvements sparked by the crime spree he started at the hospital. Gary Dewayne Johnson was in a regular room at the hospital in 2006, being treated for breathing problems after he was Tasered and arrested. He overpowered a single armed guard as she attempted to lock his shackles, and wrestled away her gun. He fled with the gun and committed a string of carjackings starting in the hospital parking lot and ending with his surrender a few days later in Indiana.

Hospital and sheriff’s officials say that since that day, they’ve staffed the secure jail ward 24 hours a day, and officers keep weapons outside in a lockbox. “If there’s any good that comes out of a critical incident, it’s that it really makes everyone stop and ask themselves, ‘Am I being effective and doing my job appropriately?’ ” said a sheriff’s spokesperson. “Am I taking every precaution I can?’ Fortunately, there has not been another incident since then.” All inmates now are treated as maximum-security inmates if they’re being guarded in between arrest and booking.


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