Officer injured in man's machete attack
The attacker stayed holed up in his skate shop and was able to withstand the officers' use of tear gas canisters
By Jennifer Pignolet
SPOKANE, Wash. — A standoff ended peacefully Wednesday morning after police say a man attacked his neighbor with a machete then holed himself up in a skate shop, at times using a mannequin to make them believe he wasn't alone.
After detectives served a search warrant, SWAT officers went inside Hillyard Skate Shopto apprehend the alleged attacker,39-year-old Glen M. Fisher, just before 10 a.m.
Police Cmdr.Brad Arleth said the incident began about 3 a.m. when police received a report of a man going into his neighbor's apartment at 3001 E. Diamond Ave.and attacking him with a machete.
Officer Teresa Fuller said the victim defended himself with a baseball bat and apparently was not seriously injured.
When officers arrived, Fisher came out with a machete and a sledgehammer and refused to obey commands from officers, Arleth said.
Officers retreated, he said, and Fisher ran into his residence, which was connected to the skate shop. Officers called in SWAT and hostage negotiation teams.
Arleth said they could hear the man speaking but that he never directly responded to the negotiators.
"For a period of time we thought there was another person in there as the suspect was actually holding up a mannequin behind a window and talking back and forth as if there was two people," Arleth said. He added that Fisher said he neededwater and also yelled, "Help me."
Police shot tear gas canisters into the business and tried to contact Fisher via loudspeaker.
"The officers on scene offered repeatedly for hours for him to come out," Arlethsaid. "They offered water, they offered food, they offered medical assistance, we had an ambulance on standby."
Arleth said it was extremely unusual for someone to stay in such a confined space after tear gas has been deployed. It's not clear how Fisher was able to withstand the gas.
At about 9:45, SWAT members wearing gas masks entered the skate shop.
Arleth said the suspect was located face down on the ground but rolled over quickly andattempted to stab the officers with a 3-foot wooden spear. One officer was stabbed butnot injured due to the gear he was wearing, according to a police news release.
Officers quickly arrested Fisher before he was wrestled out the front door and onto a stretcher.
Fisher's dreadlocks veiled his face as officers brought him out in handcuffs. Hewas transported to a local hospital for treatment and a mental evaluation.
"He's obviously under the influence of something and/or possibly some mental health issues," Arleth said.
Fisher was taken into custody on charges of first-degree burglary and third-degree assault.
Arleth said the incident was an example of officers using restraint to end a situation peacefully.
"The fact is we do de-escalate, we do use patience, we do give people every opportunity when it's possible, when it's not going to risk our lives or somebody else's," Arleth said. Police gave Fisher several chances and "even in the end when he knew he was going to be taken into custody ... he still tried to stab one of the officers even though he knew that there was no possibility of escape," Arleth said.
Arleth said the victim told dispatchers it was his neighbor breaking into his house. A motive has not been determined.
D'Andre Williams, a neighbor whose apartment faces the skate shop, said he got off the bus near the residences around 9:30 Tuesday night and saw a man matching Fisher's description standing in the street and waving his arms.
"He's saying he's going to cut people's hands," Williams said.
The man didn't have a weapon, Williams said, so he didn't think anything of it.
Williams said he hadn't seen the man before. The skate shop, he added, isn't an operating business.
"It doesn't look like it had business for a long time," he said.