Verne Evart Long
Grainger County Deputies/courtesy Grainger County Sheriff
Examining room at Blaine Medical Center where doctor was kept hostage at knifepoint./courtesy Grainger Co. Sheriff
A Morristown man is facing several charges after authorities say he held a doctor hostage at knife point at a Blaine medical center Tuesday.
Deputies responded to Blaine Medical Center/Cherokee Health Systems after noon.
The suspect, Verne Evart Long, 34, of Morristown, had barricaded himself and Psychologist Dr. John Neece in an examining room. The sheriff says Long had a knife and three razors, and was threatening to kill the doctor and himself.
"You didn't know what was on the other side of that door. We just knew that we had to do something before someone got seriously hurt or killed," said Detective Randy Summers of Grainger County Sheriff's Office.
Summers and other officers forced open the door, restrained the suspect, and secured the doctor's safety.
"The suspect was in the floor with his back against the wall with the doctor in his lap in choke hold," said Summers.
Long left Dr. Neece with some superficial wounds. He had also cut himself.
Grainger County Sheriff Scott Layel admired his officers quick thinking.
"It's my opinion that if they hadn't broken that door down, the doctor would not be alive today," Layel said.
The Director of Mental Health at Cherokee Health Systems Dr. William Berez said while they are trained for these situations, they've never had to use the training in real life.
"I don't recall an incident like this in the history of Cherokee," said Dr. Berez.
He says it appears everyone followed proper security procedures.
"We 're now going to do an investigation and look to see if we did follow procedure or if they need to be modified in anyway," he said.
Long is facing multiple charges of especially aggravated assault, especially aggravated kidnapping, resisting arrest, assault on an officer and vandalism.
He is currently at Tennova Medical Center in Knoxville receiving medical attention.
Blaine Police Department, Rutledge Police Department, and Bean Station Police Department all contributed to the doctor's rescue.