Gray man holds ex-girlfriend hostage, attempts suicide

Josh Phillips
Josh Phillips

When the Barbourville Police Department responded to what they were told was a burglary in progress, it soon became evident that the situation was much more dire.

Josh Phillips, 23, of Gray, broke into his ex-girlfriend’s home around 1:30 a.m. Monday, Feb. 1, by shattering a window. Once inside, Phillips armed himself with a knife from the kitchen and threatened to kill himself. Phillips refused to let the resident leave the apartment, but she managed to escape and called police from a neighbor’s house. Phillips followed his ex to the neighbor’s house, forcing his way inside, still armed with a knife.

Barbourville Police Officer Elijah Broughton was the first to respond to the scene.

According to arrest citations, Officer Broughton stated, “Upon arrival, I heard a female screaming ‘put the knife down’ and then I heard (Phillips) screaming he was going to kill himself. I then kicked the door open.”

Officer Broughton found Phillips in the kitchen of the neighbor’s home holding a knife to his throat. The officer gave several commands to Phillips to drop the weapon, but Phillips refused and attempted to cut his own throat. Officer Broughton was forced to put an end to the stand-off. He deployed his taser, dropping Phillips to the ground.

Barbourville Police Officers Josh Lawson and Jake Knuckles assisted Officer Broughton with arresting Phillips. Officers found a set of artificial knuckles in Phillips’ coat.

Phillips was treated on the scene by EMS for lacerations on his neck. He was charged with two counts of first degree burglary, two counts of first degree wanton endangerment, unlawful imprisonment, kidnapping, second degree criminal mischief, resisting arrest, public intoxication (controlled substance) and carrying a concealed deadly weapon. Phillips was also wanted on a bench warrant.

Phillips was lodged in the Knox County Detention Center with a $75,000 cash bond.