MAURY COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Maury County deputy is continuing his recovery while the man who is accused of assaulting him said he cannot remember key details about the alleged assault.
On Monday, Aug. 21, Latrell Gause, 22, of Columbia, was mild mannered and soft spoken as he answered questions from the Maury County Jail about the altercation that took place Thursday, Aug. 17 around 9:30 p.m.
According to investigators, it all began at the Twice Daily on James Campbell Boulevard, where Gause was accused of stealing honey buns from the store and walking out.
Store clerks working that night confirmed the shoplifting and told News 2 they flagged down a Maury County deputy, identified as Sgt. Ashton Matheny, who reportedly found the suspect several blocks away.
While Gause was unsure of many aspects of the incident, he said that he was scared and he perceived the deputy to being aggressive.
“It was the way he approached me and I was scared, and it was fight or flight, you know?” Gause said.
Sheriff Bucky Rowland described the interaction between Gause and Matheny as very professional. By phone, the Rowland praised Matheny and called him extremely “respectful” while interacting with Gause.
However, Rowland said at some point Gause surprised Matheny and hit him.
Rowland said during the assault, Gause went for Matheny’s gun, and at one point even got on top of the barely conscious Matheny and began striking him repeatedly in the head and face.
Rowland told News 2 Matheny was rushed to Vanderbilt University Medical Center with multiple injuries, including facial fractures. Matheny was eventually released from the hospital and is now at home recovering.
According to Rowland, an off-duty deputy driving past the incident saw the attack, stopped, and confronted Gause, who then ran into the darkness.
Rowland also said other good Samaritans also stopped to help Matheny.
A multi-hour manhunt for Gause ensued, ending with Gause being taken into custody without further incident.
One of the drivers passing by made this call to 911: “Man, he just got cold cocked and put on the ground. The gentleman who was walking down the road and he was trying to stop, and he was not stopping. Looks like a couple of citizens have pulled in to offer assistance.”
On Monday, News 2’s Andy Cordan tried to find out more about the incident from the Gause himself. However, Gause claimed he “blacked out” and did not remember anything about the assault.
When asked about the shoplifting charges confirmed by store personnel, Gause denied the allegations.
When told Matheny was home recovering, Gause had this to say: “I did not mean for anything to happen the way it did. He came at me in a very aggressive way; I just reacted. I didn’t have time to react, but I did. I seen him reach. I got scared. I’m not trying to be on the news for anything, and that is usually how it ends up or turns out with cops and innocent people, so I am not taking any chances.”
Gause is now charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault on a first responder, resisting arrest, evading arrest, reckless driving, and theft. He is currently being held without bond.
It is unclear if Matheny was wearing a body camera.
News 2 has inquired, but the sheriff’s department so far has not said what, if anything, was captured.