An Augusta woman who was upset about a Columbia County adoption proceeding Thursday morning attacked members of the adopting family with a crowbar and stun gun at an Evans restaurant before being subdued and arrested, police said.
Earlier Thursday, Lisa Harrison and her husband, Randy, had been awarded full custody of Iyana Nicole Herbert’s 2-year-old son at a hearing before Superior Court Judge Danny Craig at the Evans courthouse. Police said Herbert, of the 3500 block of Windsor Spring Road, followed the Harrisons and other family members to the Cracker Barrel at 522 N. Belair Road and rammed their vehicle in the parking lot.
Armed with a crowbar and stun gun, the 23-year-old then confronted Lisa Harrison and others inside the restaurant, according to Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris.
The toddler had been in the custody of the Harrisons since he was baby, said Randy Harrison’s mother, Betty Harrison, who was also at the restaurant when Herbert attacked the family.
“She said we were celebrating,” Betty Harrison said. “The truth was we were just having breakfast.”
Betty Harrison said Herbert signed papers before the hearing that allowed Randy and Lisa Harrison to care for the child. The Thursday hearing was just to make the adoption official.
“It wasn’t like they snatched him up,” she said. “She gave the child to them.”
When Herbert walked into Cracker Barrel, she first tried to stun Lisa Harrison’s aunt, then swung the crowbar, police said.
The family, along with other patrons in the restaurant, ran out the back emergency exit, but Herbert followed.
Vernon Collins, the Columbia County coroner, was having breakfast with his wife and witnessed the commotion.
“I heard a sparking sound, and it just went on and on, and people started screaming and then they started leaving,” Collins said.
Family members in the Cracker Barrel parking lot tried to persuade Herbert to drop the weapons.
Betty Harrison said she tried to calm Herbert.
“God loves you,” Betty Harrison said she told her, to which Herbert responded, “Nobody loves me. You all took my son.”
Betty Harrison wrestled away the crowbar, but Herbert continued to fire the stun gun, witnesses said.
Police arrived and, after a scuffle, handcuffed Herbert and charged her with aggravated assault.
“The document was finalized today and she showed up late for court. It was all over with when she came in,” Betty Harrison said.
Lisa Harrison was taken to Doctors Hospital with minor injuries, they said.
“It was crazy,” Betty Harrison said. “I just wanted to protect my family.”
Staff writer Jenna Martin contributed to this story.