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Suspect arrested in Hartselle church burglary; injured officer going to rehab

By Eric Fleischauer

For the Enquirer

Police have charged a woman with a church burglary that indirectly led to severe injuries to a Hartselle police officer. The officer was expected to be transferred from a hospital to a rehabilitation facility Thursday.

Erin Deshonna Garrison, 42, of 1304 Tunsel Road, Hartselle, was charged with third-degree burglary for removing food items from Tunsel Road Baptist Church in Hartselle. She was booked into Morgan County Jail on Monday and released that day on a $2,500 bond.

Sgt. Lynn Dean was one of the officers who investigated the burglary, which was reported July 14. On July 15, while Dean was patrolling Tunsel Road Baptist Church, he fell and sustained a fractured skull and initially had a brain bleed.

Lt. Alan McDearmond on Thursday said Dean was in the hospital but was expected to be transferred to a rehabilitation facility Thursday or today.

“He’s supposed to be there for a minimum of 10 days and then I guess they’ll evaluate and see what’s going to happen after that,” McDearmond said. “He’s a great guy.”

The Hartselle Police Department held a prayer vigil for Dean at Hartselle City Hall this past Friday night. Dean’s colleagues are also organizing a fund drive to assist with the family’s expenses.

Hartselle police said Dean’s body camera showed a dog approaching at 2:45 a.m., just before he was injured.

“He pretty much just tripped as he was walking backwards to try to avoid confrontation with that dog,” McDearmond said.