FPD Arrest Suspect On Robbery Charges After Struggle With Police Chief More Charges Added

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FLORENCE-On 2/28/24, Florence Police Department arrested Justin Heath Terry, a 42-year-old resident of Florence. Terry was charged with Robbery 3rd, Theft of Property 1st, Disorderly Conduct, Resisting Arrest, and Criminal Mischief 3rd.

On the day of the incident, the police received a report of a robbery and theft of a motor vehicle. The suspect, named Justin Terry, was found by the police near their department in the vehicle that was reported stolen. The officers, Chief Ron Tyler and Officer Robert Oliver, tried to arrest Terry, but the situation escalated into a scuffle in the lobby of the Police Department.
Chief Ron Tyler was present in the parking lot of the police headquarters when he heard a commotion between Officer Oliver and Terry. Chief Tyler rushed to assist Oliver when Terry made a run for it and ran inside the lobby of the police department in an apparent attempt to evade arrest.
Once confronted inside the lobby, Terry pushed Chief Tyler. A struggle ensued as Chief Tyler and Officer Oliver took Terry into custody. Terry’s physical resistance to arrest resulted in additional charges of Disorderly Conduct, Resisting Arrest, and Criminal Mischief 3rd.
Chief Tyler stated, “I never liked being punched in the face when I was younger. I was quickly reminded again of why I was never too fond of it.” Tyler added, “I was literally emailing HR earlier today with some preliminary retirement questions. I never imagined I would wind up in a fistfight before the day was out.” (**Update: In an effort to be more accurate, after a more thorough review, it does appear as though Chief Tyler’s face slammed into a chair initially as opposed to being struck in the face by a fist. Nevertheless…)
Tyler and Oliver were able to subdue Terry in the lobby and were soon assisted by other officers and detectives in taking Terry into custody without further incident. No serious injuries occurred during the incident, nor was any medical treatment required. Tyler said, “Aside from my sport coat and dress shirt getting a little bloody, none of us are too worse for the wear.” The Criminal Mischief charge was added due to a hole being made in the drywall of the newly renovated headquarters building during the course of the arrest. All parties are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
This is the second incident in recent years in which Chief Tyler was involved in the apprehension of a felon. In April of 2020, Chief Tyler confronted Kelvin Parks in a wooded area near Limestone St just moments after he was wanted for questioning in a homicide that had just occurred on Plum Street. At that time, Tyler located an armed Parks hiding in the woods. After several hours of negotiations, Parks engaged in a gun battle with Florence Officers, ultimately resulting in Parks’ death.
Tyler states, “While my title may be Chief of Police, above all else, I am a police officer. When I see a fellow officer needing help, rest assured, they can count on me jumping in to assist no matter the circumstances.”
Justin Heath Terry, 42 years of age, from Florence, is being held on a $33,500.00 bond at the Lauderdale County Detention Center.
Justin Heath Terry is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Media Release/Florence Police Department
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