A Henderson man has been charged after the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office said he was caught in the process of burglarizing Grange Hall United Methodist Church and attempting to flee while under arrest in a patrol car on Thursday.
Braley has been charged with burglary of a building, theft of firearm (two counts), unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon (two counts), unauthorized use of a vehicle and escaping while arrested or confined.
The intruder, Joshua Braley, 27, was discovered around 8 a.m. in the attic of the church, located at 4813 Texas 43 South in Marshall. Officials posted on the church’s Facebook page about how blessed they are for the sheriff’s department’s quick response and God’s protection in the ordeal. Pastor Milton Rodgers shared that he and his wife, Regina Rodgers, realized something was odd when they entered the church around 8 a.m. and smelled food.
“As we began to walk in the church, I heard a banging. We left the building and called 911 (at) Harrison County Sheriff’s Department and they responded in minutes, and made sure we were safe,” the pastor wrote. “They surrounded the building. Upon the search of the interior of the building, they found an armed intruder in the attic.”
The suspect, Braley, was immediately arrested for burglary of a building and placed in a patrol vehicle. He ended up briefly escaping, however, as patrol deputies were occupied, gathering evidence and speaking with the complainant, the sheriff’s office said.
“While Braley remained in the caged area of the patrol unit, he broke the interior partition (patrol caged area), gaining access to the driver’s seat; having access to multiple firearms,” the sheriff’s office said in a press release. “Braley then fled the location in the HCSO patrol vehicle.”
The church noted the firearms included an AK-47 and a service revolver with 30 rounds of ammunition.
As Braley fled away from the church, the sheriff’s office dispatch tracked the stolen patrol unit to the 2600 block of Lake Street in Marshall, where Braley had fled on foot.
“An aggressive perimeter was established by multiple agencies, HCSO, Marshall Police and TXDPS including a HCSO K9-resulting in Braley being located,” HCSO officials said. “Braley was transported to the Harrison County Jail with pending charges.”
On behalf of himself and the church, Pastor Rodgers expressed his appreciation to the sheriff’s office
“This situation was resolved with no one hurt or injured,” the pastor wrote. “A big thank you to the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department. We are proud of you.”
HCSO Sheriff Brandon “BJ” Fletcher said he was grateful that the incident ended peacefully.
“This incident thankfully ended peacefully without anyone being injured,” the sheriff stated. “This is one of the many dangers law enforcement encounters daily.”