Local men lead Va. police on chase

Published 12:16 am Wednesday, January 28, 2009

By Staff
Two arrested after firing on officers
Staff Writer
Two Beaufort County residents have been arrested following a high-speed chase through Franklin, Va. on Friday. Pursuing officers say at least one opened fire on them, according to a press release from the Franklin Police Department.
The suspects were identified by Franklin police on Monday as Dennis Leon Blount, 29, of Washington and Rockne Butler, 39, of Pantego.
Butler is charged with attempted capital murder of a police officer, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and providing a false identity to police officers.
Blount is charged with possession of a firearm while having a prior felony conviction and felony elusion of police.
Blount has extensive prior offenses in Beaufort County:
He was convicted on four counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon and sentenced to 61 to 83 months in prison on May 29, 1998. The conviction came after Blount was arrested on Dec. 20, 1997, following a robbery at Bill’s Beach Bingo in Washington.
Prior to the felony conviction, Blount was found guilty in separate cases of impeding traffic, resisting a public officer, possession of a handgun by a minor and carrying a concealed weapon.
Blount was on active probation and parole status at the time of his arrest Friday, according to the North Carolina Department of Correction Public Access Information System.
Butler was previously convicted of driving while intoxicated and driving with a revoked license in Beaufort County.
Blount and Butler are being held in the Western Tidewater Regional Jail without bond.
Lt. Tim Whitt of the Franklin Police Department told local media that investigators are determining whether there is a correlation between the high-speed chase and the Friday morning shooting death of Franklin resident Brad Harris.
Franklin police responded on Friday afternoon to a report of a suspicious vehicle in the vicinity of Harris’ residence on South High Street in Franklin. Officers attempted to stop the vehicle occupied by Blount and Butler, and were led on a high-speed chase. Law enforcement officials did not identify who was driving.
The chase ended when their vehicle crashed into a wall that surrounds a home on Second Avenue and South High Street in Franklin.
Whitt said Blount and Butler are considered suspects in the murder of Harris, but investigators aren’t 100 percent sure the two were involved.
Blount and Butler refused to talk, Whitt told local media.