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First Use of TASER By Police Stops Man With Knives

By Pauline Repard, The San Diego Union-Tribune

EL CAJON, Calif. – Faced with a man wielding a knife in each hand and challenging police to shoot him, El Cajon, Calif. Police Officer Bob Winning reacted yesterday as he never had before.

He fired a Taser.

"It dropped the guy like a rock," said El Cajon police Lt. Tim MacGillivray. "He yelled, ''That hurts! Don''t do it again!'' Witnesses were cheering us."

It was the first time an El Cajon officer had subdued someone with a Taser since the Police Department acquired them less than a month ago, said Lt. Ron Smithson.

He said some officers carry less-than-lethal beanbag-round shotguns, but they had never been equipped with stun-guns. Tasers shoot out electric probes that cause a person to lose muscle control.

Without the Taser yesterday, Smithson said, officers might have had to resort to deadly force.

The incident began when police were called to a family disturbance on Nicholas Place at 2:50 p.m. A resident told officers his son, 22, was tearing up the house and might be carrying knives.

An officer, looking over a fence, could see the young man in the back yard with kitchen knives in his hands and tucked into the waistband of his pants.

The officer chased the young man over the back fence into a drainage ditch. The cornered man came at the officer, who backed up and radioed for help. Soon, a half-dozen officers surrounded the young man, who threatened to kill them and told them to shoot him, Smithson said.

Struck in the side by Winning''s Taser probes, the young man fell and dropped the knives. He was examined at an area hospital, then booked into jail on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon on the officer, Smithson said.

MacGillivray said five officers and supervisors recently completed training to use the Taser M26. They sell for about $400 each. The department has ordered seven of a newer model costing $800 apiece.

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