Wasilla confrontation with man with knife ends in arrest

Officers follow him on foot until he eventually throws his weapon down.

Anchorage Daily NewsJuly 16, 2012 

A confrontation between a homeless man brandishing a knife and Wasilla police officers on the Parks Highway ended peacefully Monday, police said.

The 56-year-old man's name has not been released because paperwork charging him with seven counts of felony assault had not been filed with the court, said Wasilla Police Department officer Rick Manrique.

Wasilla police first got a call around 2:30 p.m. from a driver who said he was waving a man through a crosswalk at Weber Road near the Parks Highway when the man suddenly pulled an eight-inch knife out of a sheath on his belt and pointed it at the car. The driver said the pedestrian was a homeless man often seen around town, Manrique said.

When officers arrived, the man became "very agitated," said Manrique.

"He went to his knife pretty quickly," he said.

Starting near Lucas Road and the Parks Highway, seven or eight officers followed the man on foot but kept their distance, Manrique said.

The man lunged at officers at least once, he said, and they tried to use a Taser on him.

"Eventually he threw his knife down and we were able to avoid shooting him," Manrique said. "I'm really grateful."

The man was taken into custody around 3:30 p.m. near the intersection of the Parks Highway and Church Road, about a mile from the point where the confrontation with officers began.

Manrique said the large number of officers on scene contributed to the peaceful resolution.

"If there had been one or two officers there and the behavior was identical, I think it could have turned out differently," he said.

Patrol cars blocked one of the Parks Highway's northbound lanes during the incident, backing up traffic. Traffic was moving by around 4 p.m., Manrique said.

Reach Michelle Theriault Boots at mtheriault@adn.com or 257-4344.

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