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Police urge caution as search continues for escapee with assaultive past

Man with history of assault escapes Dinwiddie hospital
Posted at 4:49 PM, Nov 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-24 17:35:16-05

DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. -- It's now been more than 24 hours since Richard Wilson Garrett took off from Central State Hospital while being loaded into a transport van.

Those living near Central State, which is in Dinwiddie County near the Petersburg line, say that they're keeping a watchful eye out, concerned for their family's safety.

“Yeah this guy, it’s no telling what he’s capable of," said Dewy Johnson who lives near Central State.

Working outside in his yard Wednesday morning, he kept a close eye on his two children making sure no one gets near them.

His daughter concerned about the escapee.

“It kinda bothers her. She’ll ask about it for the next two weeks, now that I told her, she’ll keep asking about it, did they catch that man daddy, did that catch that man," said Johnson.

Just down the street lives Roth Nichols who is also concerned about the escapee.

“Oh I think it’s crazy. Anybody who escapes from, whether it’s prison or a hospital, we’re not sure what the mental state is, so you know their judgment is off, definitely a harm or a threat to society."

Wednesday Morning, Dinwiddie County Sheriff’s Deputies were patrolling the area looking for any sign of Garrett.

Garrett is described as being is 5-foot-11, 165 pounds, with blue eyes and a shaved head.

Deputies say if you see him, don't approach him.

“Garrett has a history of some assaultive type behavior, so we'd ask just the general public not to try to confront him. If you see him or somebody you think may be him, call the Dinwiddie County Sheriff’s Office or your local law enforcement," said Major William Knott.

Garrett was walking towards a van to be moved to another building on the property when he took off running just before two thirty Tuesday afternoon.

“From my understanding, did not use any force to do that," Major Knott said.

Garrett has ties to Carroll County, Virginia and the Triangle Area of North Carolina.

“Evidently he’s violent and has prior charges so, locked our windows and doors and kept outside lights on," Brendan McCrary, who lives by Central State, said.

Major Knott is asking everyone who lives near Central State to not only keep the doors to their home locked but also their car doors.

The sheriff's office has a felony warrant out for Garrett.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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