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Sheriff: Good Samaritans take proper steps that stop carjacking suspect

By CATHY KUEHNER

The Winchester Star

BERRYVILLE — In addition to the dozens of law enforcement officials who were involved in the capture of an armed carjacking suspect early Wednesday morning, three men beginning their workday emerged as the good Samaritans who made all the difference.

“ These men did ever ything right,” Clarke County Sheriff Tony Roper said on Thursday. “ The first thing they did right was make the decision to protect their neighbors.”

Wayne Warfield Jr., his business partner Shannon Dulaney and employee Brian Morgan were at the Chilly Hollow Road farm co- owned by Warfield and Dulaney when they received a text message from Warfield’s sister at 5:48 a.m.

Beth Marple, who decided to go to work early on Wednesday, wanted the men to know about the large police presence along nearby Harry Byrd Highway (Va. 7).

Marple, who works for the Clarke County court system, spoke with an officer on the scene and was able to convey that police were looking for a young man who had stolen and thencrashed an SUV on Va. 7. The man had left on foot toward Quarry Road, which parallels Chilly Hollow Road.

Though Warfield, Dulaney and Morgan were working near the farm’s outbuildings — out of sight of the vast open pasture and trees that stand between Quarry and Chilly Hollow roads — the Angus cattle inthe field were the first to sound the alarm at about 7:45 a.m.

“ The mothers have calves, and they’re very protective. They were behaving like something was wrong,” said Warfield.

By 8 a. m., Morgan, 24, jumped

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Wayne Warfield Jr. (from left), Brian Morgan and Shannon Dulaney pose for a photo on Thursday at the farm where the three encountered a carjacking suspect that was on the run after crashing the vehicle on Harry Byrd Highway (Va. 7) in Clarke County, near the property, on Wednesday. The men were at the Warfield Homes shop (located on farm property) getting ready for work when they were alerted of the situation via text messaging. Warfield noticed the cows were acting as if something was wrong when he spotted the suspect running toward the shop.

GINGER PERRY/The Winchester Star

Brian Morgan talks on Thursday about his encounter with a carjacking suspect as he was preparing for work at the Warfield Homes shop on Chilly Hollow Road in Clarke County on Wednesday.


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into his truck to go check on the cattle.

“ We’d had a big storm the night before but, half kidding, I said, ‘Hey, what if it’s that guy they’re looking for?’ I grabbed my pistol, just in case, because we’d heard the guy was armed.”

War field, 49, grabbed binoculars and looked toward the east, across the field.

“ I saw the guy running through the field toward Chilly Hollow Road.”

Morgan also saw the man, though by then he was too far from the buildings to hear Warfield or to yell anything to Warfield.

“ I jumped out of my truck with my pistol and yelled at the man to get down. He was yelling, ‘ I need help!’ I knew who he was, and I probably used some words you can’t print,” Morgan said. “ I just kept yelling, ‘ Get down on the ground!’” Morgan said he fired a shot into the ground both to scare the fugitive as well as let Warfield and Dulaney know there was trouble.

“ Out in the field, I had no idea what was happening up the hill.”

Dulaney, 48, was on the phone with the 911 dispatcher, relaying exactlywhat was happening. Warfield had grabbed his rifle and was sprinting toward Morgan, who had the suspect on the ground.

“ The guy looked desperate,” Morgan said. “ He looked like he was going totake a chance and run.”

The three men said they were stunned to see the fugitive make the decision torun. “ By then, we had two guns on him, and we could see he had no weapon,” said Warfield, noting the suspect was only wearing shorts, which were falling down, “ and he had nothing in hishands.” Warfield said, “ We did not want to shoot anyone, but when he ran, I knew we needed to protect our neighbors.”

Morgan jumped in his truck to pursue the suspect. Warfield was running and could see the suspect heading toward homes.

“He wanted a car. He was probably headed toward our farm at first because there are so many trucks parkedhere,” Warfield said. The suspect ran west across Chilly Hollow Roadand hid behind a tree. “ He can see me holding a gun on him, and he still decided to run,” Warfield said. “ I heard the police sirens and was so relieved.”

With law enforcement within sight, the suspect got into an unlocked car parked in a driveway and locked the doors. That’s where the police found him and arrested him.

Dulaney remained on the phone throughout, pistol in his other hand, and told the dispatcher that law enforcement officers would find all three men — Warfield, Dulaney and Morgan — in possession of legally owned firearms. Even though the suspect was wearing shorts, Dulaney gave clear descriptions of everyone so therewould be no confusion. “ I held my rifle above my head and pointed to the suspect as police arrived,”Warfield said. The only shot fired during the four- hour manhunt Wednesday was Morgan’s war ning shot into theground.

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B e f o r e 8 : 3 0 a . m . Wednesday, 24- year- old Zakarea M. Alzanam of Schenectady, N. Y., was in custody. He was out on parole after being convicted of a felony robbery and serving time in New York.

According to Clarke County Sheriff’s Office, the incident began at 4: 15 a. m. Wednesday, when a 911 call was received from a person reporting his vehicle hadbeen stolen at gunpoint by an unknown man.

The victim said he had given the suspect — later identified as Alzanam — a ride from Loudoun County west on Harry Byrd Highway to the J& J Corner Store, where Alzanam was dropped off.

After leaving the store, the victim, whom the Sheriff’s Office did not identify, discovered his cellphone was missing. He returned to the store to find the suspect. An altercation occurred, and Alzanam took a pistol from the victim’s white 2010 Toyota Sequoia and ordered him out of the SUV.

From there, Alzanam drove north on Shepherds Mill Road.

A short time later, the Sheriff’s Office received a call about a vehicle that ran off Shepherds Mill Road, and the description fit that of the stolen vehicle.

The first deputy to arrive saw the vehicle traveling south on Shepherds Mill Road, and the deputy attempted to stop the vehicle. Alzanam fled, crashing the vehicle east of the intersection of Harry Byrd Highway and Shepherds Mill Road, where he took off on foot into a wooded area.

At least 25 law enforcement of ficers from thesheriff’s offices in Clarke, Loudoun and Frederick counties, the Virginia State Police and the Berryville Police Department responded. A helicopter from Fairfax County Police Department also responded.

According to the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office, Alzanam has been charged with five felonies: carjacking, auto theft, firearm theft, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and eluding law enforcement. No illegal drugs were found, but more charges may be filed as the investigation continues.

Alzanam is being held without bond at the Northwest Virginia Regional Adult Detention Center. He is scheduled to appear in Clarke General District Court at 8:30 a.m. July 19.

Virginia authorities will work with New York authorities regarding extradition because of Alzanam’s parole violation.

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“ I’m a woman of faith, and I believe in divine inter vention,” said Marple, who can’t explain why she left for work much earlier than usual. Her text to her brother and his coworkers was sent more than an hour before residents who are signed up to receive emergency messages from the county were informed of themanhunt in progress. Warfield, Dulaney and Morgan believe there is a reason they were where they were at that time, too.

“ We’re usually gone by 8 a. m., so if we had left on time, things might have turned out much worse,”Warfield said. All three men expressed renewed appreciation forlaw enforcement. “ They get blamed for a lot,” Dulaney said. “ But when you see what they do, and think about the situations they face every day,they have my respect. “ That guy was desperate, and he would have done anything,” Dulaney added.

“ Law enforcement gets a big ‘ thank you’ from us,”said Morgan. “ My take on it is, thank God we have the right to bear arms,” said Warfield. “ Us holding him here gave police time to get here.”

Sheriff Roper has nothing but praise for Warfield,Dulaney and Morgan. “ They made the conscious decision to detain the man and protect their property and their neighbors,” Roper said. “ They called 911, and they received instructions from the dispatcher. That’s hugelyimportant.“They gave excellent descriptions, so law enforcement knew exactly what toexpect.” Roper was quick to add that everything worked as it should on Wednesday, but he does not condone vigilantism. He also said, “ It is also OK to not take action.

“ If you do not feel completely comfortable with your abilities, stay inside,”he said. Warfield, Dulaney and Morgan can’t believe the entire incident for them took no more than three minutes.

“ When I had the guy on the ground,” Morgan said, “ it seemed like 10 minutes, and all I could think was, ‘ Man, I hope someone getshere soon.’” By the day after the incident, the men said they’ve received a lot of thanks and praise from neighbors, andthey are appreciative. “ Some people have offered us beer,” Dulaney said. Does he have a beerpreference?“Coldbeer.”

— Contact Cathy Kuehner at ckuehner@winchesterstar.com

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