Law-enforcement officials were about to call off a search Wednesday night for 3rd ID Pfc. Nathan Brown, who police were told was possibly suicidal and dangerous, when the 20-year-old soldier appeared in a field near Oak Crest Drive in Hinesville.
The search for Brown began when Hinesville police received a call early Wednesday afternoon from his unit, C company, 1-3 Brigade Special Troops Battalion. The caller said Brown was in danger and may have wanted to hurt himself or others.
Sgt. Mike Gosseck said a search was conducted both on Fort Stewart and in Hinesville, but authorities were unable to find the soldier.
A late-afternoon tip led authorities to Brown’s 2005 Honda Accord, which was parked on an unpaved section of Oak Crest Drive in Hinesville.
Police found the vehicle with the keys in the ignition. Brown’s cell phone was on the console, and his shoes were in the car.
An HPD K-9 police officer, half a dozen police officers, a Georgia State Patrol helicopter and soldiers from Brown’s unit all searched the woods near where his car was found.
As the search party prepared to wrap up its efforts for the night, Brown was spotted in a field of tall grass, yelling at the soldiers from his unit and police. A tense standoff began as officers approached the 20-year-old soldier.
According to an incident report filed by HPD Officer Bryan Wolfe, Brown held what he claimed was a razor against his wrist. As HPD Lt. Susy Jackson made her way toward Brown, she pleaded with him to drop the razor and come with authorities to obtain medical care. She asked the soldier whether he had a girlfriend. He said he did and asked to talk to her.
Gosseck handed a phone to GSP Trooper Rob Barry, who held a Taser. Out of concern for the surrounding officers’ safety, Gosseck said, Barry fired the Taser at the soldier as he gave him the phone.
Brown tried to run away, but officers captured him and, according to the incident report, found a small, metal shard in his hand. They took him to Winn Army Community Hospital on Fort Stewart.