Officer assaulted at hospital

August 22, 1997


Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Gerrardstown man allegedly assaulted a Berkeley County sheriff's deputy Wednesday night, then Thursday morning escaped briefly from a state mental hospital, police said.

Cpl. Paul R. Copenhaver suffered a cut mouth that required stitches and bruises in the attack, which was reported from City Hospital near Martinsburg at 10:06 p.m., according to Capt. Curtis Keller. The incident happened while Copenhaver and a mental health official were trying to have Jeffrey Anderson, 36, committed to City Hospital.

Anderson had been arrested Tuesday evening for assaulting his brother and was taken to the Eastern Regional Jail. After a mental health hearing on Wednesday, Copenhaver and the mental health official took Anderson to the hospital to be committed.


Keller said a disagreement arose between the mental health officer and hospital officials as to whether Anderson could be accepted there. Copenhaver told them he was taking Anderson back to the jail until the issue was resolved.

Copenhaver had handcuffed one of Anderson's wrists when, according to Keller, "he sucker-punched him in the face." Copenhaver was hit in the face with the cuffs and other punches were thrown, but Keller said the officer maintained control of Anderson.

Along with hospital security, Keller said other deputies and city police responded to the scene.

A revised commitment order was issued and Anderson was committed to the William J. Sharpe Hospital in Weston, W.Va., Keller said.

"Between 8 and 9 this morning the hospital contacted us and said he'd escaped," Keller said Thursday. The hospital called back at about noon to tell them that Anderson had been recaptured.

The Herald-Mail Articles