Suspect rolls dice, comes up in cuffs

On a call that seemed fairly normal for the Laurel Police Department, officers wound up seizing three pounds of marijuana, a stolen firearm, metallic knuckles, three scales with drug residue and an undisclosed amount of cash.

Willie Fair, 20, of Laurel was arrested Thursday for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute while in possession of a stolen firearm, possession of a stolen firearm and felony fleeing in a motor vehicle after leading police on a chase of less than two miles. One suspect believed to be in the vehicle with Fair remains at large, however, police believe there is no threat to the public at this time.

A resident reported potential gambling in a backyard off the alleyway between S. 6th and 7th avenues near Jackson Street, said Police Chief Tommy Cox. When police arrived at the scene, the suspects fled in a Dodge Charger, leading officers on a chase from S. 6th Avenue to West 4th Street, and the suspect’s vehicle crashed near the train tracks on Maple Street. 

Cox said he knew the media would get involved because it was such a high-traffic area the chase occurred in. 

“There was significant police presence with us running around like our hair was on fire,” Cox said. “They wound up wrecking their car and fleeing on foot. Unfortunately, one got away but we did apprehend the other one behind Dollar General.” 

About eight officers total were involved in the incident, including the initial investigators who arrived on the scene and backup that helped apprehend the suspect in the chase.

Cox said the department would back-track the gun to get it back to the owner and see about other related charges. The call came from a concerned citizen about a known gambling spot, Cox said. 

“It was one of our regular spots that we check on, and a citizen did call and say ‘I think it’s going on right now,’” Cox said. “We appreciate that because there are a lot more citizens than there are police.”

LPD goes to calls such as this one all the time, but every once in a while, it’s not so routine, Cox said. 

“We’ve received a lot of complaints about that particular location, and it was actually on extra patrol, so it was really nice to have a citizen call in and say we are having a problem right now,” Cox said. “It went from just running some people off in a back yard they weren’t supposed to be in into a pretty significant arrest and charges.”

No officers or civilians were injured during the chase and no damage to police vehicles was reported. The only property damage that occurred happened to the suspect’s vehicle. Cox said the investigation is ongoing, especially considering the amount of marijuana and the stolen firearm. Efforts are being made to identify the other suspect.

“Three pounds, a large amount of money and a stolen firearm, you generally think that’s not for personal use and that’s why we put the intent on it,” Cox said. “I think we have plenty of evidence to go forward with our charge.”

Police believe the confiscated marijuana was possibly transported to Laurel and not grown in the area, being of a higher-grade product.

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