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High Tension: Wallington Police Subdue Suicidal Man With 12-Inch Knife

Wallington police
Wallington police Photo Credit: Wallington PD

WALLINGTON, N.J. -- A knife-wielding man was threatening to harm himself or someone else when a trio of Wallington police officers calmly subdued him and took him into custody, saving his life, authorities said Monday.

Summoned to a Locust Avenue apartment by the 38-year-old troubled man's father, police found him "in an agitated state, complaining about his father, God, Jesus and Mary," Police Chief Carmelo Imbruglia said.

He then "reached into a drawer and removed a 12-inch-long carving knife," Imbruglia said.

Officer David Norris drew his service weapon and ordered the man to drop the knife several times, the chief said.

He refused, sitting down and getting up off his bed, "repositioning the knife from waist level to his chest, grasping the knife with two hands," Imbruglia said.

He finally sat "sat on the bed and said that he wanted to die or someone else would," he said.

Detective Capt. Shawn Kudlacik arrived soon after, as the ranting man "scooted further back onto his bed and pulled the comforter over himself, obscuring the officers' view of the knife," the chief said.

Norris holstered his weapon as Kudlacik spoke with the man -- who eventually said "he was ready to go," Imbruglia said.

"The officers asked him if he meant the hospital, but he remained silent and had a fixed stare," the chief said.

"The officers knew immediate action was necessary to save his life," he said, so Kudlacik and Norris each grabbed an arm while Officer Joseph Dec -- who'd been speaking with the father -- squirted him with pepper spray.

Norris then grabbed the knife, Imbruglia said.

Police took the man to Bergen Regional Medical Center.

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