McClellan sentenced to 25 years
A Russellville man arrested after trying to gain possession of an officer’s firearm during an altercation in May was sentenced to 25 years in prison this past week, officials said.
Waylon B.J. McClellan, 28, formerly of 109 Filmore St., Russellville, pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree assault last Wednesday and received a sentence of 25 years in prison from Circuit Judge Terry Dempsey, Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing said.
Receiving the 25-year sentence means McClellan will not be eligible for any credit for good time.
“We are pleased with this sentence because of the severity of this crime,” Rushing said.
“Mr. McClellan attempted to gain possession of a police officer’s weapon and could have seriously injured or killed the officer in doing so.
“We want to send a clear message that attacks on our law enforcement will not be tolerated. These men and women are here to protect our community and we must do our best to protect them as well.”
McClellan was originally indicted in June for attempt to commit murder, disarming a law enforcement officer, second-degree theft of property and certain persons forbidden to possess a pistol.
According to Russellville Police Chief Chris Hargett, the police department received a suspicious persons call about 11 p.m. on May 9 from the apartments located on Filmore Street in Russellville.
Hargett said an officer responded to the call and checked the front of the apartments before moving to the back where a person was found hiding.
“When the suspect saw our officer, he tried to run and the officer pursued him,” Hargett said.
“The officer told him to stop several times but when he finally did, he took a defensive stance.”
Hargett said the officer used his Taser, which had little effect on the suspect, and when he used it a second time, the suspect pulled out the prongs and lunged at the officer.
“The officer and the suspect engaged in a physical altercation and at some point during the altercation, the suspect gained control of the officer’s weapon,” Hargett said.
He said the officer got the firearm back but as they continued to scuffle, the suspect again took possession of the firearm.
“The officer regained possession of the firearm and fired two shots into the suspect,” Hargett said.
The shots were fired into the suspect’s leg and were non-life-threatening.
After the officer gained control over the suspect, he was taken to Russellville Hospital where he was then transported to Huntsville Hospital for treatment.
Hargett said the Russellville officer was taken to Russellville Hospital where he was treated for minor injuries and released.
“This was one of those situations that could have ended up a lot worse than it did,” Hargett said.
“This was the type of call where you can’t let your guard down because you never know what will happen.”
Hargett said the situation was even more dangerous considering the officer didn’t have any backup available at the time.
“There were only three officers on patrol that night and the other two officers were already involved with other calls, so there was no backup immediately available to help with this situation,” he said.
“We are just very thankful that our officer was not seriously injured. It could have been so much worse, for both parties involved.”