NC inmate starts fire and cuts officer with shank

Shank was made of 2 toothbrushes and a razor

By Ryan Seals
News & Record

HIGH POINT, N.C. — A federal inmate who has admitted to robbing a bank and shooting at police officers last February set fire to his cell and cut a detention officer Sunday night, the Guilford sheriff said.

Jailers discovered the fire just after 7 p.m. Sunday in cell 7A33 at the High Point jail, which houses 24-year-old Christopher O'Neal Patterson.

Patterson was taken to a safe location as officers put out the fire.

As Patterson was being put in additional restraints, he attacked an officer with a shank - a knife made out of two toothbrushes with a razor attached, Sheriff BJ Barnes said.

The officer, Master Cpl. A.L Hobgood, was cut on both forearms and received wounds to his chest and face. He was taken to Moses Cone Hospital where he received 17 staples and was released, Barnes said.

The fire is believed to have started when Patterson tampered with the building's electrical wiring, the sheriff said.

Patterson of 3717 Cameron Ave. in Greensboro is being held in connection with the robbery Feb. 9, 2009, of the Wachovia bank on 3608 High Point Road. It led to a gunbattle along Patterson Street with Greensboro police that left a second robbery suspect dead.

While trying to arrest the men, police officer Matt O'Hal was hit by their car and shot twice. Another officer pulled O'Hal to safety, and after a lengthy recovery, he returned to duty in October.

The gunbattle killed Patterson's partner in the robbery, Dimarkchrisy Eddie Majors, police said.

Patterson was shot multiple times and spent months at Central Prison in Raleigh recovering. In November, he agreed to plead guilty in federal court to the Wachovia robbery, the robbery of a Burlington gas station and to multiple firearms charges.

He faces up to life in prison and up to $1 million in fines. A sentencing date has not been scheduled.

In state court, Patterson also faces a host of charges that include attempted first-degree murder, bank robbery, discharging a firearm, fleeing to elude arrest, and assault with a deadly weapon, among other charges.

He also has been charged with first-degree arson and assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury in connection with the fire and assault Sunday.

He remains in jail without bond.

Copyright 2010 News & Record (Greensboro, NC)

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