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Deputy Set On Fire While Trying To Arrest Fugitive

Portage County Sheriff's Sergeant James Acklin remains hospitalized with burns over 20 percent of his body.

Rootstown, Ohio – The target of a felony arrest warrant doused a Portage County sheriff’s deputy with a flammable substance and set him ablaze on Thursday night, police said.

The incident occurred at approximately 6:43 p.m., as Portage County sheriff’s deputies were attempting to serve a warrant at the residence of 45-year-old Jay Brannon on state Route 44, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.

Brannon, who is 6 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs 210 pounds, was wanted for aggravated drug possession.

He was also listed as one of the county’s “Top 10 Most Wanted Fugitives,” and was considered to be armed and dangerous.

As the deputies moved in, Brannon declared that he was going to “kill the cops,” and said he wanted the deputies to kill him, WJW reported.

He then “threw a container containing a flammable liquid on the deputy and at the same time ignited the liquid setting the deputy on fire,” Portage County Sheriff David Doak said in a news release, according to the Akron Beacon Journal.

With his uniform in flames, Portage County Sheriff’s Sergeant James Acklin managed to back out of the residence, WJW reported.

His fellow deputies put out the blaze, and he was rushed to the Akron Children’s Hospital’s burn unit.

Meanwhile, Brannon charged at the uninjured deputies still inside the building, and attempted to assault them.

The deputies were able to force the combative fugitive outside, where he was subdued and taken into custody.

Sgt. Acklin, a 22-year veteran of the Portage County Sheriff’s Office, suffered burns to over 20 percent of his body.

“They’re giving him stuff for pain management, but he’s doing OK,” Sheriff Doak told the Record-Courier on Friday. “He’s got some second- and third-degree burns, and I was told over 20 to 23 percent of his body, different areas of his body.

“Fortunately, they weren’t bad facial burns,” the sheriff added. “Most of it [was] to his arms and his hands. His legs got burnt a little and along with his hip.”

The burning liquid also ignited the building where the confrontation occurred, resulting in firefighters being called to the scene.

The blaze was contained inside the garage building were it was extinguished, Rootstown Fire Chief Chuck Palmer said.

Two other deputies were taken to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation, and have since been released, WJW reported.

A second suspect, 59-year-old Michael Moore, was also arrested at the residence for unrelated drug offenses.

In addition to the drug offenses that precipitated the altercation, Brannon has been charged with five counts of aggravated arson and five counts of attempted aggravated murder, among other offenses, the Record-Courier reported.

He is being held on $1 million bond, and is due back in court on Feb. 22.

Holly Matkin - February Fri, 2019


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