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Homeless man willing to go to jail

COVINGTON - It took a little convincing, but the Covington Police finally granted a man's wish Sunday night - they took him to jail.

According to an incident report completed by Officer Anthony Walden, he was dispatched to Newton Medical Center about 7 p.m. when a man by the name of Gino Shepherd, 32, called 911 after he was escorted out of the hospital by a security guard when he refused to leave the premises.

"Shepherd stated that the hospital refused to admit him so he wanted the police to arrest him so he would have somewhere to sleep," the report stated.

The report stated that Shepherd had attempted to convince hospital personnel to admit him as a mental health patient as he was "homeless and had nowhere to go." He said his family had refused to help him and he had been kicked out of Rainbow Community Center in Porterdale for fighting.

"Shepherd stated that (the officers) needed to do their jobs and lock him up," the report stated.

Hospital personnel told the officers that the man did not have a medical condition that required hospitalization and the local mental health facility had refused him as a patient.

"Shepherd immediately began claiming that his heart hurt and he needed a bed to sleep in," the report stated, but hospital personnel said that report was unfounded as well.

Officers advised Shepherd to leave the hospital and only return if he had a medical emergency and to not call 911 dispatch again unless he had a true emergency. Shepherd left the scene, telling officers he was walking to the Waffle House, the report stated.

About 1:30 a.m., officers were dispatched to Hazelbrand Road when an alarmed woman told them a man was at her front door trying to break in. The 83-year-old woman said there was a man on her porch, banging on the door and yelling for her to call the police to come arrest him, the report stated.

When officers arrived, they found Shephard, who told them, "Now you have to take me to jail," and began arguing with Walden that he had now committed a crime and "officers had to do their job and arrest him."

Again, officers ordered Shepherd off the woman's property and he left, once more telling them he was on his way to the Waffle House.

By 4:15 Sunday morning, he had finally made it to "the east end Waffle House," the report stated. Employees called CPD to report there was a man there who needed to go to "mental health."

When officers arrived, they found Shepherd standing inside the restaurant, drinking something from a Waffle House cup. Employees said he had come to the restaurant, begging for something to eat or drink, and told the employees to call the police to come get him because he had mental health problems.

"Shepherd stated he was going to keep calling 911 or do a crime until he got arrested," the report said.

At this point, officers called the man's mother, but she refused to come get him because "he always creates problems with his family members." Sgt. (Vic) Partee said Shepherd's mother said he is able to work and find himself a place to stay, the report said.

Defeated, the officers arrested Shepherd for unlawful conduct during a 911 call and loitering and prowling, and he was transported to the Newton County Detention Center. As of press time Monday, Shepherd remained incarcerated.

Barbara Knowles can be reached at barbara.knowles@newtoncitizen.com.