In 2006, I was an officer in a medium-sized department in the southeast with three years on. I was working the evening shift and was dispatched to a domestic disturbance where a woman’s husband had hit her, pulled her by the hair down a flight of stairs and grabbed a steak knife to apparently kill her. The caller had managed to get up and the two began to run around the kitchen table, the suspect chasing her, attempting to stab her. Luckily the knife never found its mark.
I pulled up within a minute of the first officer arriving on scene. Upon seeing him pull up, the caller had run out the front door and out to the sidewalk. As I walked up to them, the front door of the house opened. The husband stepped out on to the porch. I could see his hands clearly from the porch light, and they were both empty. That was the good news. The bad news was that he had that “thousand-mile stare” that meant a fight was coming. He came down the stairs and began to walk towards us slowly. He was staring straight ahead mumbling to himself. He ignored all of our commands to stop, and continued towards us. The other officer and myself began stepping to the side, out of the direction the suspect was walking.
As the suspect walked past us, I could again see that his hands were empty and open. We closed in and I took hold of the suspect’s right arm while my partner grabbed the left one. The fight was on immediately. When we took him to the ground, I ended up lying on top of him, pinning his right arm and my right arm behind his back, underneath me. My partner had control of his left arm.
Suddenly I felt a sharp pain across the left side of my face. I looked up to see that my partner had let go of the suspect’s left arm and deployed his ASP baton. Unfortunately for me, his aim sucked. He had hit me across the face with it. Also unfortunately for me, him letting go of the suspects arm allowed him to tuck his arm underneath of his abdomen and grab the knife he had tucked into his waistband. As my partner continued striking the suspect with the ASP baton, I watched in what appeared to be slow motion the glint of the streetlight on the blade of the knife as he brought it out. He then reached over his shoulder and tried to stab me. The knife missed plunging into my neck by an inch or less. I watched it pass right in front of my face as it went towards my neck, and I was helpless to stop it as my arms were still pinned between us, holding his right arm.
I climbed over the suspect and grabbed his left wrist, pinning it to the ground while my partner fumbled with getting his handcuffs out of the pouch. We then managed to get handcuffs on him and take him into custody. He pled guilty to attempted murder of his wife and is still in prison. I still do not know if he was high or crazy.
I learned something from this incident. I falsely assumed that my partner had taken care of the other arm and concentrated on keeping the right arm pinned. I did not see the suspect shove his arm underneath his stomach to get a knife and only realized it when he was bringing it back out, which almost got me killed. I learned to be aware of all of the suspect’s actions, even if I was only actively dealing with one portion of them. I trust the guys I work with in a fight, but now I’m observant of what they’re doing as well.
— AP, CO
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