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Armed robbery suspect captured by Pasco deputies in second attempt

NEW PORT RICHEY — It took deputies 10 days and two sets of handcuffs to haul Damon Morrell off to jail.

By the time Morrell, 32, was booked Tuesday on 14 charges, authorities said, he had already eluded one Pasco County sheriff's deputy in a car chase across New Port Richey and attempted to escape two more deputies.

A deputy was investigating an armed robbery on Aug. 1 when a car matching the description of the suspect's car drove by. As the deputy pursued the car, it sped away. When the deputy pulled him over at a Chevron station on State Road 54, Morrell got out and walked away despite orders to stop, according to a Sheriff's Office report.

"I didn't do (anything) wrong!" he yelled at the deputy, got back in the car and drove away, according to the report.

Nine days later, as another deputy tried to arrest him in the armed robbery case, Morrell got into a fistfight with the deputy and tried to take his Glock handgun, the report said. "You're not taking me to jail," he shouted.

A deputy who arrived on the scene as backup found the first deputy still struggling to keep Morrell under control. Although they managed to shackle his legs, handcuff him and restrain him in the back of a patrol car, he spent the ride to the jail kicking a back passenger window, the report said. The Sheriff's Office later estimated he caused $500 in damage.

Deputies pepper-sprayed Morrell and jolted him with a Taser, eventually keeping him still with two sets of handcuffs and other restraints, according to a report.

Morrell, who is homeless, has had run-ins with Pasco deputies before. He pleaded no contest to battery in 1999 and was put on probation for battery on a law enforcement officer in 2006. He now faces 14 charges ranging from resisting an officer with violence and attempting to escape, to grand theft of a motor vehicle and robbery with a deadly weapon. He is being held at the jail in lieu of $339,600 bail.

Armed robbery suspect captured by Pasco deputies in second attempt 08/11/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 11, 2010 8:52pm]
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