Marshfield man subdued after authorities fire bean bag rounds
Man threatened self harm, claimed he had a gun
By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — A 23-year-old Marshfield man fled from police on Christmas day after he caused a disturbance at an apartment building and was eventually shot with “two bean bag projected impact rounds.”
Jerry Lavell Warfield was released from Wood County Jail on Dec. 25, and police were called to the Laurel Gardens Apartments in Marshfield, where he was reportedly attempting to gain entry into his ex-girlfriend’s apartment at 3:16 p.m., according to a release from the Marshfield Police Department. Marshfield Police Chief Rick Gramza said that the Wood County Sheriff’s Office also responded.
Marshfield police had been told that, “While in jail, he (Warfield) had made threats toward his former girlfriend and that he may come to her apartment despite a domestic abuse injunction ordering him not to,” the release said.
“He (Warfield) left the apartment prior to officers arriving but was located a short distance away. When officers approached he fled. He was then relocated in the 900 block of North Street near Hillside Cemetery,” the release said. Gramza said that Warfield fled on foot.
The release said Warfield then “told officers that he had a gun and that he was going to kill himself.” He would not surrender and was holding his right hand inside of his waistband. Gramza said at this point officers had their weapons drawn on Warfield.
Warfield again fled officers and returned to the Laurel Gardens Apartments.
“During this time he repeatedly told officers to shoot him,” the release said.
A resident buzzed Warfield inside of the apartment complex though officers “were in continuous contact” with him, according to the release. Gramza said that Warfield did not gain entry into any individual apartment, and officers confronted him in a common hallway. Gramza said he did not know which resident buzzed in Warfield.
Officers then shot Warfield with the bean bag rounds, and he surrendered. The bean bag rounds are designed to be a “less lethal option” for officers, the release said.
“It can be deadly if you shot somebody in the head with it,” Gramza said. “But our goal is to aim for the chest, the abdomen area, the legs, maybe the arms, just those extremities.”
Gramza added that the law allows officers to use a level of force a step above what is being presented against them in a given situation.
“In this case the individual had threatened that he had a handgun. He never displayed it, but he would not show us his hands either. He displayed one hand but would keep the other hand in his pants,” Gramza said.
Gramza said that while in jail, Warfield had made statements indicating that he would “not go down without a fight” and would “make an officer kill him to stop him.”
Gramza said the bean bag rounds were fired in an attempt to make him expose his right hand to see if in fact he had a firearm. No weapons were found on Warfield. Warfield was taken into custody at about 4:37 p.m. on Dec. 25, Gramza said.
After being medically cleared at Ministry Saint Joseph’s Hospital, Warfield was taken to Wood County Jail. Charges for violating a domestic abuse injunction, stalking, disorderly conduct, and resisting or obstructing an officer are being requested by the Marshfield Police Department.
Gramza said in an era of heightened police scrutiny he was pleased with the way officers responded to the situation.
“In this time in the profession, where there’s concern that police are using excessive force, this is an example where we were very fortunate,” Gramza said. “I think this just is a good example of how things worked out in our favor, but it could have taken a significant turn elsewise if he would have had something in his hand that resembled a gun.”
“There’s so many bad ways this could have turned out,” Gramza said. “I think it just goes to show you how important it is to get your officers trained, to make sure you’re equipping them with as many resources as possible.”
“There’s a lot of things that could have gone wrong that didn’t, and I attribute a lot of that to the leadership that was working, to the officers and their skill set that were working, and just the cooperative nature of those officers working together,” Gramza said.