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Deputy encounter with suicidal man ends peacefully

Posted at 3:49 PM, Aug 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-01 19:20:55-04

The Pima County Sheriff's Department ended a dangerous encounter with a suicidal man without serious injury on Saturday by using a taser.

Ira Sewell, spokesperson with the department says the incident took place on Saturday, July 30.

Deputies Justin Meeboer and Virginia Howard responded to reports of a suicidal man in the 4300 block of W Oasis Drive, said Sewell.

The suicidal man has called 9-1-1 to report he had a knife and wanted deputies to shoot him.

Sewell describes the incident:

Deputy Meeboer and Deputy Howard arrived at the man’s home to find him in the driveway armed with an approximately 5” knife. The deputies immediately began talking to the man and gave multiple commands for him to drop the knife. Deputy Howard drew her firearm and maintained cover while Deputy Meeboer prepared his taser and continued to try and calm the man down. The man refused to drop the knife and continued to tell deputies to shoot him. Deputy Meeboer responded by saying that he was not going to shoot him and wanted to offer him help.

The man told Deputy Meeboer that he knew exactly what he needed to do to get shot; he must move closer to the deputies to make himself a greater threat. The man raised his knife and began moving towards Deputy Meeboer. As Deputy Howard maintained cover, Deputy Meeboer deployed his taser. The first attempt with the taser failed and the man continued to advance on Deputy Meeboer. The second attempt with the taser was successful in stopping the man and the deputies were able to handcuff and detain him. Once the incident was over, the man was transported to the Crisis Response Center.

Sewell says Deputy Meeboer was familiar with the man, having dealt with him on several previous calls.

The man has a history with deputies with 109 contacts since 2009 with 31 being directly related to suicidal threats, said Sewell.

The efforts of Deputy Meeboer and Deputy Howard handled a potentially deadly situation calmly and professionally, said Sewell.

Deputy Meeboer has severed the department four years and Deputy Howard has severed the department one and a half years.