Canine catches suspect within wooded area

COVINGTON - Newton County Sheriff's Office deputies were summoned to a Days Inn after a man allegedly slapped his girlfriend, but when he ran from them, things went downhill fast for him.

NCSO spokeswoman Investigator Sharron Stewart said authorities were called about

4:30 a.m. to the Alcovy Road hotel when a woman alleged that her boyfriend, Johnnie Vaughn Jr., 56, hit her on the left side of her face because she wouldn't give him a hug. She told them he had left the hotel, but said they would find him at his residence at 10273 Dinah Court.

Deputies went to the residence, but when they approached the door, Vaughn allegedly ran through the back door and jumped a fence, after which he ran into a wooded area, Stewart said.

The NCSO deputies requested that the Covington Police Department send their K9 officer to search for Vaughn, and Officer Gene Nuqui and Ringo answered the call.

Ringo was able to track Vaughn and located him hiding behind a vacant house, according to a CPD incident report. When the suspect spotted the officer and his dog, he ran into another wooded area.

"Officer Nuqui told the suspect to stop or the police dog would be released. Officer Nuqui could not see the suspect at this point, but could hear him crashing through the woods," the report states.

Receiving no response, Nuqui released Ringo and ordered him to apprehend, according to the report.

"Ringo engaged the suspect approximately 20 feet into the wood line and apprehended (him) by biting and holding the suspect's lower right leg," the report states.

Nuqui said he repeatedly told the suspect to stop kicking and remain still and the K-9 would be called off. At this point, the man complied and Nuqui called off the dog and ordered him to guard the suspect. Once the dog was called off, the man still refused to be handcuffed and it required both Nuqui and a deputy to effect the arrest.

Vaughn was taken to Newton Medical Center where he was treated and released to the custody of the Newton County Detention Center. He was charged with simple battery and obstruction of a law enforcement officer in connection with the incident.

In other news, NCSO deputies went to 12641 Brown Bridge Road, Lot 25, after they were alerted by a dispatcher that there had been a 911 hang-up call from that address.

Stewart said deputies knocked repeatedly on the door and announced their presence at the residence when Michael David Powers finally answered the door. He was bleeding from his hand.

Powers sat down on a sofa where a woman was lying face down. She told deputies she was having a panic attack, Stewart said.

Deputies told Powers they were going to hold him in "investigative detention," which means they would handcuff him in regard for their own safety until they could determine what was going on.

According to Stewart, Powers told them they were not going to handcuff him and he was not going to jail. He then produced a blue razor knife from his pocket. Stewart said deputies drew their guns and told him to drop the knife, which he did. He was then handcuffed and placed under arrest without further incident.

The woman told the deputies she and Powers had gotten into an argument and he pulled a knife on her. There was a slight struggle, during which his hands were cut. When she attempted to call 911, he grabbed the phone. She also said she had made several attempts to leave the residence, but he prevented her from leaving, throwing her to the ground.

Powers was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, obstruction of a law enforcement officer and possession of a firearm/knife during the commission of a crime.

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