01/22/2003

Police Deploy Beanbag Guns to Diffuse Situation

Idaho Falls Post Register...01/22/2003
TERI ANDERSON

Officers fired three shots from beanbag guns Monday night at a man who charged an Idaho Falls Police officer.

Police say the incident happened around 11:30 p.m. when they responded to the house of a suicidal male.

The 33-year-old Idaho Falls man reportedly had cut himself twice with a pocketknife and was yelling at a woman, according to police reports.

The man yelled obscenities at police officers and told them he was not going to go to jail when they tried to intervene, according to the reports.

The woman managed to break away, and the man went and hid under a truck, police said.

Officers found the man and ordered him to come out. The man refused to show his hands and charged at Officer Brian Trimble, according to police reports.

Bonneville County Sheriff''s Sgt. Tom Hillier fired two shots from his beanbag gun at the man, while Idaho Falls Police Sgt. David Forrest shot once from his beanbag gun. One of the shots hit the man in his chest, and another struck a thigh.

The man fell to the ground and believed he was shot. He was handcuffed and taken to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, where he was treated for welts from the beanbags and knife wounds to his wrist, according to police reports.

No criminal charges have been filed against the man in connection with the incident.

It is rare for police officers to deploy beanbags at people, but it does happen, said Lt. Ken Brown, of the Idaho Falls Police Department. Officers have had beanbag guns for about four years and have fired them twice, he said.

The guns provide an alternative to using lethal force when someone will not cooperate with officers, Brown said.

Idaho Falls reporter Teri Anderson can be reached at 542-6750, or via e-mail at tanderson-@idahonews.com.

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