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Breaking News - 09/09/2012

Correctional Officer And Motorist Are Stabbed By Inmate Following Escape

A state prison inmate is back in custody at the Western Maryland Correctional Institution, Cumberland, following two violent assaults on first a correctional officer and then a motorist Tuesday morning in Garrett County.

Larry J. Johnson, 37, an inmate at the facility, had been serving as part of a work crew in the area of eastbound I-68 near exit 19 in Grantsville, where Maryland State Police were dispatched to shortly after 7:30 a.m. The report claimed that Johnson had assaulted Officer Robert E. Goss Sr., 47, with a pair of pliers by stabbing him multiple times. Goss underwent treatment for multiple stab wounds to the upper torso at Western Maryland Regional Medical Center, Cumberland.

Preliminary investigation revealed that Johnson had begun assaulting Goss, who was in the driver's seat of the Division of Correction van. Johnson was then able to get behind the wheel of the van while 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 the van, but was unable to continue when the van and attached trailer jackknifed.

He then ran to the side of I-68, where he flagged down the driver of a Mitsubishi Lancer, Alan M. Gnegy, 22, Morgantown, W.Va., who told investigators he stopped because he thought someone needed help. Johnson used the pliers to stab Gnegy in the head before pulling him from his vehicle and driving away. Gnegy was also treated for his stab wound at the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center, Cumberland.

MSP 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. 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 the area of 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 police vehicles were damaged in the pursuit, and no police officers were injured.

Johnson is charged 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.

MSP criminal investigators and the homicide unit are continuing the investigation. Assistance is also being provided by MSP crime scene technicians, GCSO, C3I investigators, the Garrett County State's Attorney’s Office, and the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services Internal Investigative Unit. Northern Rescue Squad and State Highway Administration personnel also responded to the scene.