By Beth Lawrence


A Sylva man is facing charges from two law enforcement agencies after fleeing from police last week.

Leander Jacob Jarrell, 28, of Race Lane was arrested for one count of breaking and entering and two counts of resisting a public officer after allegedly leading Sylva Police officers on a foot chase last Wednesday.

Jarrell was wanted on charges that he allegedly “violently” assaulted another person and a dog, said SPD Chief Chris Hatton.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office issued warrants for Jarrell’s arrest on Monday, Oct. 12, for assault inflicting serious bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon and cruelty to animals.

On Oct. 14 Jarrell was spotted near Walgreen’s and police were called to the scene.

“When Sgt. Zack Stiles and Officer Maleah Mathis approached the area, Jarrell fled on foot,” Hatton said.

Jarrell fled in the direction of Creekside Oyster House at 219 W. Main St. and up a steep hill through dense overgrown foliage.

Officers lost track of Jarrell. A sheriff’s office K9 unit assisted in the chase.

“(The chase) started on Race Lane and went to the Lone Star Drive area,” Hatton said.

Jarrell was spotted ducking into a home on Lone Star Drive.

Neighbors told officers that someone was home.

“A next-door neighbor was quickly able to explain that there were three brothers, ages 9, 10 and 19 in the home,” Hatton said. “The brothers were alone in the home because their parents were working.”

Hatton spoke to Jarrell over a patrol car loudspeaker ordering Jarrell to come out. Shortly thereafter Jarrell exited the home with his hands raised.

“Our officers and deputies immediately entered the home to find the brothers,” Hatton said. “The children were found unharmed. Two of them were just inside the front door and the 9-year-old had locked himself in a bathroom. The kids were shaken up but OK.” 

An SPD officer injured his hand during the pursuit but did not receive treatment. A second officer was treated at Harris Regional Hospital for dehydration.

In the Oct. 12 incident, Jarrell was allegedly involved in an altercation with Jonathan Wheatley. During the fight, Jarrell punched Wheatley in the face multiple times knocking out teeth and breaking his jaw and then chased the victim with a knife, according to an arrest warrant.

Jarrell is also accused of abusing a small dog. He “intentionally injured and torment(ed)” the little dog by “picking up the dog and throwing it like a football down an embankment covered in trees,” the warrant reads.

Jarrell was served with outstanding warrants at the Jackson County Magistrate’s Office and charged with breaking and entering and resisting arrest by SPD.

He could not be charged with kidnapping with regard to the children because “the specifics don’t meet the statue,” Hatton said.

NC general statue 14-39 to 14-43.13 states a person who “unlawfully confines, restrains,” takes from one location to another anyone under 16 years old or over without consent of the parents or without the adult person’s consent is guilty of kidnapping or if holding a person hostage or using them as a shield, holding a person hostage or in servitude, or trafficking another person for the purposes of sex.

Jarrell is being held in the Jackson County Detention Center under a $20,000 bond. He had his first court appearance Monday.