Neighbors intervene as Franklin man threatens to stab two children

Published 3:02 pm Saturday, June 22, 2024

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FRANKLIN, Va. — City of Franklin Police Department officers responded Wednesday, June 19, to a report of a man with knives running after children on Norfleet Street, according to an incident report provided by the FPD.

Local entrepreneur L. Terrel Majette Sr. also provided a first-hand account of part of the incident. He helped to protect one of the fleeing children, all of whom avoided physical assault during the incident, according to one of the witnesses.

Majette described his experience.

“Me and my brother were sitting outside talking, enjoying the day off from work,” he stated. “Two of the neighborhood children were nearby playing together outside when suddenly they both ran back in my direction.”

He said the little boy ran into his own house, but the little girl ran up to him.

“She said, ‘Excuse me, sir, that man down there is chasing us with a knife!’” Majette recalled. “I paused for a minute to process what she was saying. I get up, and I see the man standing with two knives in his hand, yelling from about three houses down. 

“I then go inside to grab my firearm, and as I’m coming back, I hear my brother, who is protecting his daughter in the car, yell to me, ‘Be careful, bro, he’s charging this way,’” Majette stated. “As I stepped on the porch, he had got right near my yard, running at full speed. Only thing that stopped him was seeing me holding my gun. 

“I asked him multiple times to please go home as he continued to stand there wielding one of his knives,” Majette continued. “At this same time, my wife was calling the authorities as the little girl asked could she come in our house.”

In a video of the incident provided by Majette, the little girl was immediately welcomed in for her safety.


“The authorities arrived quickly and responded promptly,” Majette said. “I didn’t want to kill the young man, as I’ve seen him in the neighborhood before, and I figured he has some sort of mental illness; however, I couldn’t allow him to hurt anyone out there.” 

According to a narrative provided within the FPD incident report, officers responded to Norfleet Street in reference to a man with knives running after children. The report noted that the incident spanned from 5:55 to 6:15 p.m., with officers arriving at 5:59 p.m., four minutes after the call came in.

A caller statement in the report indicated that the man with the knife said he was going to stab one of the kids outside and was then throwing knives. Shortly thereafter the caller indicated no one was hurt.

The incident report’s narrative noted that upon the officers’ arrival, bystanders indicated that the man in question had run into a residence on Norfleet Street. Officers made contact with him at that residence and identified the man as Willis Barry Jr.

The report noted that Patrol Officer Tyler R. Dodson, who was listed as the reporting officer, knew Barry from a previous Emergency Custody Order (ECO).

“Mr. Barry emerged from the residence unarmed and began stating that he came from the depths of hell and stated that he was going to start speaking in Vatican and African,” the narrative stated. 

The narrative then noted that Cpl. Brown took Barry into custody for a badge ECO, and Dodson spoke to the alleged victims.

Dodson spoke to a witness who stated that Barry came out of his residence and began coming into their yard on Norfleet Street with two knives, stating that the children took his cellphone, the narrative noted. Reportedly, Barry then laid on his stomach and stuck the knives into the ground.

The witness stated that her boyfriend came out of the residence, and Barry went back into his own residence on the street, the narrative reported, adding that the witness said none of the children were physically assaulted by Barry because they went back into their residence when Barry scared them.

“Mr. Barry was transported to Southampton Memorial Hospital without incident,” the narrative stated.

Majette, who has gained prominence in the community as a singer, songwriter and recent winner of the STARTUP Franklin Southampton program, expressed gratitude that he was able to help during the incident.

“As a person already clinically diagnosed with PTSD, this was a challenging situation for me and still has me a little rattled, but I’m just so grateful to God that he allowed me to be off work and home to protect that little girl,” he said. “I truly live in a world I wish that people would love each other more. I would have wanted someone to protect my children the same way.”