In July 3-9 issueBy Greg WellsTimes Journal Managing EditorABOVE: Jamestown Police and Russell County deputies with Mary JoAnn Haynes after she is held following her being shocked by a Taser after she pulled a gun on officers.
JAMESTOWN - There allegedly had been incidents of harassing and yelling at neighbors which were reportedly intensifying. Her cousin in a neighboring county agreed to swear out a mental health warrant for Mary JoAnn Haynes to be evaluated and if need be treated.
But after she wouldn’t come to the door Tuesday night police say they found the 40-year-old Jamestown woman in her bedroom, and she pointed a .357 magnum handgun at them.
Sheriff’s Deputy Tim Pierce and Constable Wayne Hart called for assistance, and did not fire at the woman who was reportedly pointing the snub-nosed revolver at them.
Police Chief Mike Keaton said Haynes, “lived like a hermit,” in her home on Sunset Drive. He said he knew she was likely to carry a pistol. But several of the officers on the scene, including Pierce, had gone to school with the woman in their younger days.
Everyone said they were hoping they could talk her into putting the gun down and coming out peacefully.
Time passed and it was close to an hour after they had originally told the woman they were police officers with a warrant for her, when it became clear the discussions were not having any success.
Deputy Cary York said, “(Lt.) Tony (King) and Tim (Pierce) pulled the door open and they shot her one time but I guess he only hit her with one prong of the Taser and… well I’m not really sure what happened, but she went for the gun again and we bailed out the front door to regroup.”
Keaton said King’s Taser apparently didn't function when King pulled the trigger. The Taser fired at her by Pierce struck her with the electric prongs but didn't shock her. The Taser is an electronic stun gun which fires two electrodes into a subject sending thousands of volts into them to render then unable to resist.
The Tasers were purchased in recent years by the sheriff’s office and the other police departments in the county as a less-than lethal option when confronted by an armed subject.
“It did not go off and that put a lot of people’s lives in danger,” Keaton said.
Deputy Clete McAninch afterwards was able to approach a window into the bedroom where the woman was laying with the stainless-steel handgun resting on her stomach.
“She sat straight up and I thought to myself this is the perfect chance,” McAninch said. “I pulled my Taser, put the laser-dot on the center of her chest and fired.”
That time everything worked and the woman was taken into custody without further incident. She was taken to the Russell County Hospital to be checked out before being transferred for mental health evaluation.
Pierce afterward said, “The Taser saved her life. She could have easily been shot with lethal force several times.”
But he said because the officers had another option they were able to take Haynes in without serious injury.
The bad news was that when she was examined it was clear that both of the contacts from the deputy’s Taser had in fact hit her, one in the arm and the other in her leg. That should have been sufficient to immobilize her then, but it did not according to the officers at the scene.
Both departments report they will be looking further into why two Tasers failed to do the job when needed to stop a woman with a gun.