A volatile situation ended without bloodshed when officers in upstate New York showed restraint after an armed, suicidal man threatened them early Sunday morning.
Officers received a call about 2:30 a.m. about a man walking down the street with a gun. When responding officers arrived on the scene, they discovered 27-year-old Preston Wright of Johnson City at the location described by the 911 caller.
When approached by the officers, Wright, who was hiding his hands behind his back, refused to comply with orders and show his hands. Wright told officers that he had a gun and that they were going to have to shoot him. However, they didn’t.
Eventually, Wright showed his hands, revealing that he was in fact armed with a knife, then pointed the weapon at the officers and threatened them.
“The fact that he did have a knife in his hand, which he did pull and threaten them with, they would have been legally justified in using deadly physical force in that situation,” Johnson City Police Chief Brent Dodge said. “However, they didn’t feel it was absolutely necessary.”
Instead, one of the officers, a recent graduate of the police academy, used a taser to subdue Wright, who was taken into custody without further incident and without anyone being harmed.
Wright was transported to a local hospital for a mental evaluation and charges against him are currently pending.
Authorities later discovered that Wright made the original 911 call to the police about the man with a gun and, although they did not elaborate, confirmed that he had also planned a suicide for some time.
But Dodge praised the actions of the officers when handling the situation, which could have easily turned deadly.
“You’re potentially about to make a life changing decision,” Dodge said. “One that can be scrutinized very heavily, and either cast you in a very bad light, or cast you in a positive light, depending on the outcome.”
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