A domestic assault on Monday night carried over into a scene involving nearly two dozen Sheriff's personnel after the accused man in the domestic case barricaded himself into his home and refused to come out on Tuesday morning.
The Laurel County Sheriff's Office converged upon a residence on Cold Hill Road Tuesday morning in response to a call that Austin Johnson, 42, had assaulted a woman overnight and refused to let her leave the home. The victim locked herself in the bathroom and escaped through a window and contacted police.
As deputies arrived at the scene, Johnson barricaded himself inside the home, refusing to come out. Sheriff John Root and Major Chuck Johnson, along with the Southeast Regional Special Response Team (SRT) led by Team Leader Detective Richard Dalrymple and Lieut. Chris Edwards, Crisis Negotiator for the Sheriff's Office, were among those deputies and detectives on the scene and attempted to talk Johnson into exiting the home.
After a couple of hours, the SRT Team deployed gas to force Johnson from the residence. At that time he was taken into custody by Sheriff's officials, charged with first-degree strangulation, fourth-degree assault, first-degree wanton endangerment, first-degree unlawful imprisonment, first-degree sodomy - domestic violence, and first-degree sexual abuse.
The victim told deputies that Johnson had physically assaulted her on Monday night and refused to let her leave the residence, dragging her back into the home whenever she tried to leave. After the physical assault, Johnson reportedly put a pillow over the top of her face.
The press release from the Sheriff's Office also stated the victim said Johnson sexually assaulted her during the night and that she locked herself in the bathroom and escaped through a window when she heard him in another part of the house.
Deputies arriving at the scene located the victim, who was transported to Saint Joseph London for treatment of injuries while Johnson barricaded himself inside the home. Johnson also placed a call to The Sentinel Echo, requesting a reporter to come to the scene because he said he was innocent of any wrong-doing.
Assisting for the Laurel County Sheriff's office was: Detective Richard Dalrymple who led the regional special response team with team members: (Sgt. John Inman, Deputy Josh Morgan, Detective Kyle Gray, Deputy Hunter Disney, Officer Shannon Jones, Officer Robbie Hodge, Officer Greg Rhodes, Officer Karl Middleton, and Officer Shay Helton) Agencies represented on the Southeast Regional Response Team include: Corbin Police Department, Barbourville Police Department, Mt. Vernon Police Department, Williamsburg Police Department, Knox County Sheriff’s Office and Laurel County Sheriff’s Office. Also assisting for the Sheriff's Office were Capt. Robbie Grimes, Lieut. Chris Edwards, Sgt. Brett Reeves, Deputy Brent France, Deputy Brad Mink, Detective James Sizemore, Detective Bryon Lawson, Deputy Rodney VanZant, and Deputy Gilbert Acciardo.
Other agencies assisting at the scene and on the case included London City Police and Ambulance Inc. of Laurel County.
Sheriff Root stated, “It was a great group effort which ended textbook perfect with no neighbors, bystanders, officers or the accused injured.”