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August 18, 2003
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Fla. Police Use Beanbag Shot to Subdue Man Threatening Suicide with Sledgehammer

So. Florida Sun-Sentinel

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. -- A 37-year-old resident armed with a sledgehammer was shot with a beanbag by police, then subdued and arrested after threatening suicide, officers said on Monday.

The arrested man, who is not being identified because of the suicide attempt, was charged with three counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, possession of marijuana under 20 grams and resisting arrest with violence. He is being held in the Broward County Jail.

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Here''s what police spokesman Anthony Avello said happened after officers were sent to the 6800 block of Northwest 39 Avenue around 1:30 a.m. Saturday. Police were told a man was inside the house attempting to kill himself with a gun. Shots had also been heard at the site prior to officers arriving.

Officers quickly surrounded the residence and attempted to make contact with the man via telephone. Minutes later, the man exited the house with a sledgehammer in hand. Officers repeatedly directed the man to drop the tool, but he refused.

The armed man walked toward officers with the sledgehammer in a "threatening manner." A decision was made to try and disarm the man before he hurt himself or others.

Using a 12-gauge shotgun that shoots a non-lethal 1.43 ounce beanbag, an officer fired one shot. He struck the man on the right side of his abdomen. The beanbag''s impact knocked the man to the ground where he was disarmed, subdued and handcuffed.

Medical treatment was rendered at the scene and then he was taken to Northwest Medical Center.

The man received medical clearance within hours and was taken to the jail.

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