A knife-wielding man in crisis who repeatedly threatened to commit “suicide by cop” was convinced by Berkeley police officers to be taken into custody for a medical evaluation after a standoff Wednesday evening, authorities said.
Police issued a “shelter in place” warning to the community at 7 p.m. after answering a call 25 minutes prior to some portable toilets set up on Roosevelt Avenue north of Bancroft Way where they found a man in crisis.
“The individual was armed with a knife which he put to his own neck while he threatened to kill himself. Crisis Intervention trained officers attempted to negotiate with the individual for approximately 45 minutes,” BPD said in a prepared statement. “During the negotiations the subject kept the knife to his throat while he repeatedly threatened to commit suicide by cop.”
Police told people, via a Nixle alert, to avoid the area, and said nearby neighbors should remain inside due to the ongoing negotiations.
One neighbor on the block said that “Miller pipeline is replacing gas lines on Roosevelt. Today they left a port a potty unsecured in front of my [house] and I came home to find that it had attracted some guys one of whom was looking around properties with more than casual interest. BPD responded and now the guy has a knife out.” Another described 11 squad cars at Roosevelt and Bancroft, where the streets were blocked off.
Police said the man eventually “began to advance on officers” while holding the knife, and refused to halt despite repeated warnings.
“Officers hit the subject with multiple rounds from several less lethal launchers causing him to drop the knife and be safely taken into custody,” police said. The launchers use foam or plastic projectiles rather than bullets.
The man was taken to a local hospital for a medical evaluation, police said. The incident was described as resolved as of about 8:15 p.m.