Knife-wielding man gets punch instead of bullet

A Saanich police officer subdued a young man by punching him in the face early Friday morning after he wouldn't drop a large kitchen knife

A Saanich police officer subdued a young man by punching him in the face early Friday morning after he wouldn’t drop a large kitchen knife he used to threaten his mother.

Just after midnight, police received a dropped 911 call from a residence in the 3800-block of Merriman Dr. in the Cedar Hill area. Less than an hour earlier, police had attended the same house for a disturbance call, and found two occupants in the home – a mother and son – to be extremely intoxicated, according to Sgt. Dean Jantzen.

Officers who responded the second time were met at the front door by the intoxicated son, who was brandishing a kitchen knife in his left hand.

He took an aggressive stance with the officers while wielding the knife, so officers drew their weapons. Despite repeated orders to drop the knife, the suspect refused.

In a quick moment when the suspect turned his attention to his mother, one of the Saanich officers struck the man with his fist. A physical struggle ensued, and the suspect was handcuffed and arrested.

“This was a tense situation that required almost immediate decision-making,” Jantzen said. “Our officers are forced into action based on the actions of the suspect. And sometimes we have the benefit of being able to contain someone and call for extra resources, like ERT, but in many situations, our patrol (officers), including canine officers, are left with having to make judgement calls.”

No one sustained serious injuries in the incident. Four knives were seized from the home as evidence.

While being interviewed, the mother said her son held one of the knives to her throat. Jantzen said alcohol played a “significant factor” in the incident.

Police are recommending charges of assault with a weapon and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose against the 20-year-old son.

kslavin@saanichnews.com