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Tuesday May 31st, 2016 11:39PM

Club Escape co-owner sought for threats against police

By Dean Dyer and Rob Moore
HELEN - Law enforcement personnel across northeast Georgia are searching for a Helen man who made public threats against police officers Saturday night.

Helen Police Chief Jim Couch said Friday his office obtained two warrants Thursday for Mark Turner, co-owner of Club Escape.

Couch said the warrants were totally unrelated to the burglary and chemical spill reported at Club Escape Monday morning.

"They had to do with a sign violation and threats he made against our officers on Facebook," Couch said.

Couch said officers spent most of the day Thursday trying to locate Turner, but were unsuccessful.

The sign violation was in connection with the unauthorized placement of a sign on the front deck area of the business, which resulted in Turner's arrest on disorderly conduct charges Saturday night, Couch said.

Cpl. Ricky Gunter, Helen police investigator who was at the scene Monday morning to probe the damage, suffered chemical burns to his hands and was treated at Habersham Medical Center.

Gunter returned to work at the department today, Nov. 1.

As far as the Club Escape incident, Couch said sheriff's investigators, wearing protective clothing and breathing apparatus, went into the building and executed a search warrant. He said the results of that investigation will be released by the sheriff's office since it is handling that part.

Couch said the toxic fumes are still present at Club Escape. He said he tried to stand outside the door while investigators conducted their search and had to move because of the fumes.

A special team will have to come in and clean the chemicals, Couch said.

Couch said the building owner and an employee went into the building without protection after being warned about the dangers.
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