After leading deputies on a chase across a field and into the woods behind Southeastern School last Wednesday, Carlton Bruce Murray II, 41, of Jefferson County, was taken into custody and later admitted to St. Vincent’s Blount hospital where he remained in intensive care until returned to the Blount County jail Saturday. His bond has been set at $215,000.
Murray had entered the school in an excited state after his car broke down on Ala 75 in front of the school. He later attempted to take a car from a parent waiting in the school parking lot, ordering her out of the vehicle, but was unable to leave because he didn’t have the keys.
Police arrived moments later and he fled on foot away from the school, after trying to re-enter the by-then-lockeddown school, according to some reports.
“It all began sometime after 2 p.m. when this man was seen in the lobby, just walking around from place to place and acting strange,” said Southeastern principal Mike Peoples. “I went out to talk to him and he demanded to be given the keys. He keep demanding the keys, and acting just almost zombielike. I told him I didn’t know what keys he was talking about. He was obviously not in his right mind. I asked him to leave and he went outside. That’s when I saw him approach a parent in a parked car, and I knew things were about to get worse, so I immediately went out there.
“He managed to get the woman out of the car and was getting ready to get in when I got there. We managed to get the kids out of the car, and while we were doing that, he pulled a gun on me. We got the kids and mother back into the school and immediately went on hard lockdown. The building was completely secured in a matter of moments, and law enforcement began to arrive on the scene about the same time.”
Murray was fleeing from Jefferson County deputies at the time when his car broke down near the school. He had allegedly beaten his wife earlier in the day and threatened to kill both her and himself and burn the house, before stealing a gun from a co-worker and temporarily eluding pursuit.
A spokesman for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department said he will be charged on counts of robbery, domestic violence, and attempted arson.
Blount County Sheriff’s Department investigator Jerry Hughes said Murray has been charged with six counts in Blount County: robbery, 1st degree; burglary, 2nd degree; terrorist threats; possession of a firearm on school property; receiving stolen property, third degree; and resisting arrest.