A knife-wielding Bridgewater, MA, man determined to die at the hands of police was spared through the use of de-escalation tactics and a Taser, according to the police department.
“This was a prime example of professional police officers using their training to resolve a serious and potentially tragic situation, and I wish to commend and recognize all of the officers involved in this call,” said Bridgewater Police Chief Christopher Delmonte. “The officers relied on their training, exercised good judgment, worked as a team, took decisive action early and followed established protocols for dealing with persons in a mental health crisis. This man was capable of hurting many people, including himself and responding officers.”
The incident took place August 23 when officers responded to a 911 call for a mentally unstable man. Police were able to reach the man by phone, and he told an officer that he wanted to “kill someone,” the Enterprise News reports.
Responding officers discovered the man had three knives and was making aggressive movements toward them, police say. Multiple officers and a K-9 were called to the scene.
“It became clear to the officers that this was a serious mental health situation, which the officers are trained to respond to due to their training in dealing with mental health, critical incidents and de-escalation,” Bridgewater police said. “They told the man they did not want to hurt him and some of the officers holstered their firearms and transitioned to their Taser-brand electronic control devices.”
Bridgewater police said that through their de-escalation efforts, the officers were able to convince the man to drop two of the knives. He kept the third and and made a plunging motion with it toward his stomach as if he was getting ready to stab himself, police say.
“When the man raised the knife above his head again, an officer deployed his Taser, striking the man in his hip and shin,” Bridgewater police said. “The Taser deployment caused the man to drop the knife and fall to the ground, at which point the officers quickly moved in to get the knife away from the man and safely detain him,” police say.