Son with no criminal past uses sword to attack family, killing mom, Alabama police say

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The Mobile County Sheriff’s Office responded to a Jan. 16 call in Eightmile, Alabama, regarding a deceased female and two men who had been attacked and were suffering from lacerations, officials said.

Deputies arrived to find a “brutal” scene, MCSO Captain Paul Burch told WPMI.

According to police, Helen Nettles Washam was found dead in the home. She was reportedly attacked by her son, Damien Winslow Washam, who used a sword to attack his mother. Damien Washam is also accused of attacking his uncle, who is bedridden with cerebral palsy and was left with severe lacerations on his face, according to the police report, and his brother, who suffered minor injuries.

Apart from the reportedly brutal nature of the incident, it was also an uncommon scene for the deputies to walk into, Burch said, according to WALA.

“I can only, maybe, think of one or two other times where there was a large sword-type weapon used, you know, in either an assault or homicide,” he told WALA. “And this one’s even worse because the, you know, offender killed his mom, you know, with a sword.”

When deputies arrived, Washam fled, which started a chase. Washam escaped the deputies in a dark green 2000 Honda Accord, and when police located the vehicle, they attempted to stop Washam, who refused to comply, according to the sheriff’s report. Deputies worked with Saraland Police to deploy spike strips along Highway 158, which stopped Washam’s car.

When they pulled over the vehicle, Washam attempted to flee on foot, the police report said, and he was tased by MCSO deputies. Burch told WALA that Washam had a taser prong lodged into his head, so he was taken to a hospital and was expected to have surgery before being released into police custody.

According to the incident report, Washam’s brother was treated at the scene for lacerations to his wrist, and Washam’s uncle is in a hospital in critical condition.

Deputies are still piecing together what triggered the incident, according to WPMI.

“I talked with the dad several times last night and he doesn’t know what could have triggered this behavior. He said there’s no known mental illness, no criminal history, has not been a bad kid and he just really has no idea what could’ve triggered this behavior,” Burch told WPMI. “This is pretty brutal with a ceremonial type of sword, not very sharp and that’s what he attacked and killed his mom with.”

The husband of Helen Washam and father of Damien Washam told WPMI that he was heartbroken and wanted people to remember Helen for her kindness, rather than the recent attack.

Damien Washam will be booked into Mobile County Metro Jail on charges of murder, attempted murder, assault in the 2nd degree and attempt to elude, according to the sheriff’s office.

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