Police: Man on cocaine breaks into Georgia Capitol, damages property

The Georgia Capitol suffered extensive damage Monday night when a man on cocaine broke into the building and smashed lights, windows and two paintings of former governors, police said.

A Capitol police officer spotted Joshua Lemhouse breaking mirrors off a patrol car parked outside the Gold Dome about 11:30 p.m. and tried to stop him, authorities said.

Joshua Lemhouse
Photo: Fulton County Sheriff's Office

When he saw the officer, Lemhouse ran around the Capitol and up to the second-floor entrance on Mitchell Street. He then broke the glass out of the door and entered the building, police said in a statement.

“Mr. Lemhouse grabbed a flagpole just inside the entrance and began breaking approximately 15 light fixtures and damaging two paintings,” authorities said. 

The paintings were portraits of 1950s Georgia governors Marvin Griffin and Ernest Vandiver. 

An officer patrolling the first floor heard the commotion and ran upstairs. That’s when Lemhouse swung the flagpole at him, striking him in the neck and shoulders, authorities said.


 

The officer was able to get Lemhouse on the ground temporarily, but the man hopped up and ran to the third floor of the Capitol, where he kicked in the secretary of the senate’s office door and continued his rampage, police said. 

Lemhouse started smashing windows and toppling filing cabinets when the officer who initially spotted him caught up to him and used his Taser, according to officials.

The Taser had no effect on Lemhouse, who was able to break free again and head back down to the second floor of the Capitol. 

There, police said Lemhouse damaged the rotunda before running to the west side of the building, smashing another window and stepping out on Washington Street. 

The man is accused of damaging the portraits of former governors Marvin Griffin and Ernest Vandiver.
Photo: Channel 2 Action News

Two officers were able to arrest Lemhouse. He was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, where doctors determined he had cocaine in his system. 

The two officers who arrested Lemhouse were taken to the hospital and treated for injuries, authorities said. 

No other information was released and it’s unclear exactly how much damage was caused.

Lemhouse is charged with criminal trespass, second-degree criminal damage to property, interference with government property, obstruction of a law enforcement officer and two counts of simple battery, Fulton County jail records show. He was denied bond Wednesday but is set to appear in court again Oct. 16. 

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