- Associated Press - Saturday, October 22, 2016

DERMOTT, Ark. (AP) - An Arkansas Department of Correction report says a former prison guard tested positive for marijuana hours after taking over a tower at the Delta Regional Unit in Dermott and refusing to come down for about 12 hours.

Devante McCarter, 24, of Greenville, Mississippi, appeared dazed when he reported to work nearly two hours late on Oct. 1, according to the report obtained by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/2eu8AUc ) under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.

A debriefing report said McCarter did not directly answer when asked why he was reporting late and did not respond when asked if he was OK.

McCarter asked for his radio and confirmed the name of the lieutenant who was talking to him, and then climbed into a tower he was not assigned to man. He stayed in the tower with a gun and ammunition, ignored orders to come down, and was mostly unresponsive when superiors tried to talk to him, according to the report.

Officials have said McCarter made no demands, no shots were fired and no one was injured or in danger.

The report says several staff members, the warden and McCarter’s family tried to talk with him during the next 12 hours, but McCarter was mostly unresponsive.

Electricity to the tower was shut off at about 6:45 p.m. About an hour later, Correction Department Director Wendy Kelley, who had been trying to communicate with McCarter by phone and radio throughout the day, asked McCarter to come down.

The prison guard responded “copy” by radio and within six minutes exited the tower and was arrested. McCarter was fired Oct. 10 for failing a drug test, failure to relinquish a post when ordered and other policy violations, according to his personnel file, also obtained under FOIA laws.

McCarter is now charged with felony commercial burglary and a misdemeanor count of impairing the operation of a vital public facility. He hasn’t yet entered a plea, and Chicot County Circuit Judge Sam Pope has ordered a mental evaluation for McCarter.

McCarter couldn’t be immediately reached for comment Saturday by The Associated Press. Jail records don’t list an attorney for McCarter, and no publicly listed phone numbers could be found for him in Dermott, where the Arkansas prison is located, or his listed hometown of Greenville, Mississippi.


Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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