Breaking News Emails
Larry Russell Dawson, the man who law enforcement sources say tried entering the Capitol building Monday with a gun, was arrested there last October after disrupting congressional proceedings.
On Oct. 22 — Dawson’s 66th birthday — the one-time funeral director and embalmer from Antioch, Tenn., stood up, began shouting bible verses and identified himself as a “Prophet of God,” according to federal documents.
“The acting Chair of the House banged the gavel to restore order,” the documents say, adding that when an officer tried to remove Dawson, he “refused to comply and pulled his arm away.”
After a second officer helped detain Dawson, he broke free in a corridor and dashed for an exit, the documents say. He was apprehended, handcuffed and charged with assaulting, resisting or interfering with a police officer and disorderly conduct on U.S. Capitol grounds.
On October 23, Dawson was ordered to stay away from the Capitol and all the congressional buildings surrounding it, according to the documents.
It’s unclear if Dawson did, but he apparently didn’t believe the government’s orders applied to him.
In January, after Washington D.C. court officials sent a letter to his Tennessee address notifying him of an arrest warrant, Dawson responded with a letter describing himself as “a Minister and True Prophet of God.”
“I have been called chosen and sent unto You this day,” the letter says, adding: “Therefore, I will not comply with the court order, nor will I surrender myself unto your office. No longer will I let myself be governed by flesh and blood, but only by the Divine Love of God!!!!”
Dawson was first licensed as a funeral director in 1972, according to state records. In 2014, he reapplied for a license and was denied for "lacking good moral character," according to documents obtained by NBC News.
Dawson’s trouble seemed to begin when he worked as a bus driver in Williamson County — a job he held for 20 years. The ex-funeral director came into contact with a then-15-year-old girl who rode his route and wrote her inappropriate letters in 2002. Dawson was arrested but charges were dropped on the condition that he not contact the family or the girl for at least a year.
A year and a week later, Dawson sent yet another letter — this one three-and-a-half pages long — to the then-17-year-old girl explaining that God told him she was "chosen to be his wife ... and bear his baby," documents show.
The self-proclaimed minister also asserted, “God has a special plan for their lives and she must not go outside the plan or the real trouble will start.” Dawson went on to say he was, "willing to do something daring and even fight for her."
Outside Dawson's suburban home south of Nashville, a neighbor strained to reconcile the man he'd known for 12-years with the one being described by the news media.
He was the guy who was outside working on cars, walking his dog and was always "very neighborly," the neighbor, who did not want to be identified, told NBC affiliate WSMV.
"You got the wrong guy, that’s not him," the neighbor told the station. "That’s not the guy that I know as my neighbor."
Then, the neighbor added: "I could be fooled. We all could be fooled."