Man jailed for assaulting officer

First Posted: 5/30/2014

LUMBERTON — A Fairmont man has been jailed after threatening a sheriff’s deputy and hitting a Fairmont police officer who took him to the hospital for psychiatric evaluation, according to Maj. Anthony Thompson, chief of detectives for the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office.

Purcell Leach, 51, is facing two counts of assaulting an officer for trying to hit Deputy Gary Altman and striking Officer James Casey Locklear at about 6 p.m. Thursday. Fairmont police have also charged him with resisting arrest and communicating threats, according to Chief Danny Parker, head of the town’s department of Public Safety.

Neither officer needed medical attention, Thompson and Parker said.

Fairmont police went to Leach’s Griffin Street home on Thursday after a neighbor called 911 to report that Leach was outside crying and saying he was going to “gun down” his neighbors, Parker said.

Leach threatened to shoot himself and the officers, Parker said.

“For the past several months we’ve had complaints from neighbors on Mr. Leach being irate, engaging and assaulting people as well as displaying weapons to neighbors and different folks around,” Parker said.

Several reports of shots being fired have also involved Leach, Parker said.

Locklear took Leach to Southeastern Regional Medical Center for evaluation on an involuntary commitment order, Parker said.

Altman was at the hospital on a different order at the time, Thompson said.

According to Thompson, Leach “became irate and belligerent” after his handcuffs were taken off and refused Altman’s requests that he calm down. Thompson said Leach swung at Altman several times but did not hit him. Altman reported that Leach smelled strongly of alcohol.

Leach, a registered sex offender, was arrested in March after walking onto Fairmont High School property with a box-cutter. He was convicted and placed on probation in April 2013 on a 2008 charge of assault inflicting serious injury.

Leach has been jailed under a $5,000 secured bond.