US Attorney: Mark Sawaf tried to grab officers gun in attempt to escape

Published: Aug. 20, 2016 at 11:14 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

New documents in a case against a Harlan County man killed while in police custody reveal he tried to steal an officer's gun in an attempt to escape from authorities.

According to documents filed Friday by the U.S. Attorney's office, authorities filed a Joint Motion to transfer Mark Sawaf, 39, from the custody of the Laurel County Detention Center to the custody of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in order to help authorities find the remaining trail cameras outfitted with explosives.

Sawaf was accused of placing explosives into game cameras located on a private trail at the end of Red Dog Road in Harlan County, officials said.

Federal agents say one of those cameras injured a man in the chest and the hand.

They believe he did it between late March and early April.

ATF officials connected the cameras to Sawaf and after a search of his home found materials consistent with what was used in the cameras.

Authorities arrested Sawaf at the end of June

The court granted the transfer and required he remain shackled while helping them locate the remaining devices.

On Thursday, August 11, Sawaf went to Harlan County with authorities to find more devices, but at the end of the day indicated there were more.

They extended the transfer of custody and decided to continue the search the next day.

Before Sawaf returned to custody for the night, he tried to escape. Law enforcement stopped him, but he then tried to grab a gun from one of the officers. A brief struggle followed and a Lexington fire investigator eventually shot and killed Sawaf.

According to state police, Lexington Fire Investigator Captain Brad Dobrzynski shot Sawaf.

Dobrzynski is currently on administrative duty status. This is the first time a Lexington firefighter has been involved in a deadly shooting.

Police believe there are possibly still explosives in the area, some with trip wires in the area, and are working on finding and removing them.

Sawaf was a licensed counselor with offices in Harlan and Lexington.