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PRISON INMATE BACK IN CUSTODY AFTER ASSAULTING CORRECTIONAL OFFICER AND MOTORIST IN GARRETT CO.

September 4th, 2012 by WCBC Radio

(GRANTSVILLE, MD) – A state prison inmate on a highway work crew is back in custody after assaulting a correctional officer and then assaulting and carjacking a motorist before leading troopers and deputies on a pursuit this morning in Garrett County. 

The injured Maryland Division of Correction employee is identified as Correctional Officer Robert E. Goss, Sr., 47.  He is undergoing treatment for multiple stab wounds to the upper torso at the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center in Cumberland, Md.  Officer Goss works at the Western Correctional Institution in Cumberland.  

The injured motorist is identified as Alan M. Gnegy, 22, of Morgantown, West Virginia.  He is being treated for a stab wound to the head at the same hospital in Cumberland.  

The inmate is identified as Larry J. Johnson, 37, an inmate at the Western Correctional Institution.  After consultation with the Garrett County State’s Attorney’s Office, State Police will be charging Johnson this afternoon with two counts of attempted first degree murder, two counts of first degree assault, one count of second degree assault, two counts of carjacking, two counts of motor vehicle theft, first degree escape and numerous motor vehicle charges including fleeing and eluding.  Johnson is expected to be returned to the custody of the Division of Correction later today. 

Shortly after 7:30 a.m. today, state troopers from the McHenry Barrack were dispatched to eastbound I-68 near exit 19 in Grantsville, Md., for the report of an assault.  When troopers arrived, they learned that an inmate work crew from the Western Correctional Institution was working in the area.  Troopers were told an inmate, identified as Johnson, used a pair of pliers to assault Correctional Officer Goss by stabbing him multiple times. 

The preliminary investigation indicates Johnson entered the passenger side of the Division of Correction van and began assaulting Officer Goss, who was in the driver’s seat.  Johnson was able to get behind the wheel of the van, as Officer Goss continued to struggle to defend himself and subdue the inmate, which included the use of pepper spray.  Johnson is believed to have attempted to drive off in the prison van, but was unable to continue when the van and trailer attached to it jackknifed. 

Johnson then ran to the side of Interstate 68 and flagged down a Mitsubishi Lancer, driven by Gnegy.  Gnegy told investigators he stopped because he thought someone needed help.  Johnson is believed to have used the same pliers to stab Gnegy in the head as he pulled him out of his vehicle.  Johnson then drove off from the scene in the stolen vehicle. 

Troopers immediately issued a lookout for Johnson and the stolen Mitsubishi.  A trooper spotted and attempted to stop the vehicle southbound on Rt. 495 near Bittinger, Md.  Johnson did not stop and a pursuit ensued, which ultimately included additional troopers and deputies from the Garrett County Sheriff’s Office. 

The pursuit ended about 12 miles later in an area known as Sky Valley, just off Rt. 495, when Johnson apparently lost control of the vehicle and struck a tree.  Johnson was arrested without further incident.  He did not require medical treatment after the crash.  No State Police vehicles were damaged in the pursuit and no police officers were injured. 

State Police criminal investigators from the McHenry Barrack and the Homicide Unit are continuing this investigation.  Assistance is also being provided by State Police crime scene technicians, the Garrett County Sheriff’s Office, C3I investigators, the Garrett County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services Internal Investigative Unit.  Scene assistance was provided by the Northern Garrett Rescue Squad and State Highway Administration personnel. 

Questions regarding the inmate should be directed to the Maryland Division of Correction.

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