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Knife-wielding man threatens harm to officers

POSTED July 31, 2012 4:54 p.m.

A Turlock man, who armed himself with a butcher knife and threatened Turlock police officers with explosive devices, was taken into custody Monday night after he was shot with a Taser gun.

The 31-year-old man, whose name has not been released, suffers from a mental illness and had not taken his medication for an extended time period, according to his family members.

The incident began around 7:30 p.m. Monday when the man called emergency dispatch and said he was holding people at knifepoint, Turlock Police spokesperson Officer Mayra Lewis said.

The dispatcher was able to obtain his identity and tracked his location to the 4500 block of Fosberg Road. Multiple officers were sent to his location.

While speaking to the dispatcher, the man said he had “surprises” waiting for the officers and that they wouldn’t make it far if they tried to go into the home. He claimed to have improvised explosive devices, booby traps and firearms in the home, Lewis said.

The man also told the dispatcher he planned to force the police to shoot him, Lewis said.

Officers were able to speak to the man’s family and learned of his mental illness. It was also discovered that no one was in the home with him at the time.

After some time, the officers were able to gain the man’s trust and speak with him face to face in his driveway.

“Over time, he demonstrated an increase in trust and cooperation, however, he remained armed with a large butcher's knife for the majority of the time,” Lewis said. 

The man eventually put down the large butcher knife he was holding, Lewis said. He was moving closer to one of the officers when he was hit with the Taser and taken into custody.

The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department bomb squad was called to the scene to clear the residence of any explosive devices. The bomb squad used a robot and nothing was found. The scene was cleared just before 11 p.m.

The man was taken to the Behavioral Health and Recovery center in Modesto.

“I am very pleased with our response from our dispatcher and officers,” said Turlock Police Chief Jackson. “They were able to diffuse a volatile situation without anyone getting hurt.”

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