• Judge grabs flagpole to defend himself as suspect tries to escape courtroom

    By: Tom Jones

    Updated:

    CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. - A man is facing several charges after investigators say he tried to escape a courtroom.

    Christian Penarrieta was standing trial for aggravated stalking in Clayton County on Oct. 16.

    The judge revoked his bond and ordered him into custody.

    Investigators said Penarrieta was talking to his attorney when he suddenly ran toward the door and out of the courtroom.

    "He stood up and he bolted," Clayton County sheriff's deputy Leon Brown said.

    Officials said Penarrieta ran into a district attorney’s investigator and knocked him over.

    "We started to tussle on the ground. That's when I felt the defendant's arm start to move toward my weapon," investigator John Gosart said.

    Gosart said he grabbed his weapon as Penarrieta tried to get away.

    "He was able to get away from Gosart and he did a U-turn coming back toward me," Brown said.

    An officer shocked Penarrieta with a Taser, but that did not work.


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    Investigators said he then ran back toward the judge’s bench. The judge grabbed a flagpole to defend himself.

    Spectators and court personnel watched the escape attempt unfold.

    "The court reporter was in the middle of everything, so basically what she did was kneel down and got up under the desk," Gosart said.

    Penarrieta was shocked with a Taser again and then hit with a baton before he was subdued.

    He has been charged with felony obstruction, felony escape, battery and public disturbance.

    Courthouse sources told Channel 2's Tom Jones that Penarrieta was most likely going to receive 12 months of work release if convicted of aggravated stalking, but now he is in more trouble.

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