Man identified in assault by contact of two women on campus

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Photo Credit: Chelsea Purgahn | Daily Texan Staff

Ellis Harold Henderson, 28, was arrested Thursday night near Robert Dedman Drive and 20th Street on charges of assault by contact, aggravated robbery, resisting arrest, possession of a controlled substance and escape from jail, according to the arrest affidavit.

Henderson approached two women walking on campus and attempted to touch them, after which one of them cried out for help, according to the affidavit. Terry Garner, a UT Parking and Transportation Services employee, was driving in the area in a PTS-marked University car where he heard the woman’s cry for help. When Garner confronted Henderson, Henderson opened the driver’s side door and physically assaulted Garner, forcing him out of the car and replacing him in the driver’s seat.

UT Police Department Lieutenant Greg Stephenson said the situation escalated from there.

“He thought that car would help him be more attractive to the ladies,” Stephenson said. “He literally tries to push the [PTS employee] out of the way, and I think he did swing a punch but hit him in the arm.”

A call made to Austin Police was picked up by UTPD over the radio. UTPD officers arrived on the scene, where Henderson was sitting behind the wheel, putting the car in drive. UTPD Sergeant Brian Dillenberger used a Taser on Henderson, who managed to assault additional UTPD officers after climbing out of the car window, according to the affidavit.

“The level of danger goes up significantly if you’re trying to get someone out of a vehicle,” UTPD assistant chief Peter Scheets said. “Sgt. Chris Kelly up in Hutto was killed in this situation trying to get a suspect out of a vehicle, and the suspect drove over the officer.”

Officers determined the suspect to be intoxicated, and he was taken to Travis County Jail after a medical check-up, Stephenson said. 

“During that process, he tried to escape from them,” Stephenson said. “What he doesn’t understand about the jail is the door he ran out through leads to nothing but another locked area.”

Henderson is currently being held in Travis County Jail on bond.