It started out as a family spat over food. Then came the violence, cops say

Thomas Leron Washington
Thomas Leron Washington

Early Thursday morning, a police officer from the Fort Pierce Police Department responded to a “medical alarm” call at a Fort Pierce, Florida, home.

According to the police report from the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office, the officer made contact with Fred Harriell Jr. who stated that he and his sister Beverly Harriell were physically attacked by his nephew, a man later identified as Thomas Leron Washington. Harriell explained that he and the younger man had argued because Washington had eaten all of his mother’s food that was in the residence.

When the 37 year old suspect was confronted about the food issue, he became “irate,” said the report, and began “throwing things in his room.”

Growing more enraged, Washington then began making disparaging remarks about Harriell’s deceased mother (his grandmother), and came at Harriell, charging him and “slamming him to the ground.”

While on the ground, Harriell said he kept repeating, “Don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me,” according to the report.

But Washington apparently disregarded his uncle’s pleas, lying on top of the victim and screaming, “I’ll kill you. I’ll kill both of you motherf---ers.”

Fred showed the law enforcement officer a bloodstain on his shirt, which he claimed to be from his nephew’s injured head.

Beverly, who had bruises on her body consistent with the account of the incident, confirmed that the dispute began over the food. She also confirmed that she caused his head to bleed. After unsuccessfully trying to pry her son off her brother, she grabbed a wooden baseball bat and struck Washington in the head to try to get him to stop. This tactic apparently worked.

Washington, wounded, then took off running out of the house through a back door.

Blood stains could be seen on the floor, by the back door and by the suspect’s room, the report read.

Beverly also confirmed that Washington, who is six feet tall and 240 pounds, was prescribed medication for schizophrenia that he was diagnosed with about a year ago. He is not currently taking anything, said the report.

The officer wrote that he submitted a warrant for probable cause of domestic violence. Washington was arrested approximately 12 hours later when he returned to the house. He was charged with two counts of simple battery and transported to St. Lucie County Jail, where he remained as of Monday afternoon.

“I’m sad about what he did,” Beverly Harriell said when reached by phone by The Miami Herald. “He needs to be on his medication. He is in denial about his [mental health]. I don’t know what to do anymore. He’s been in and out of trouble for so long.”