(PA) LEOS attacked by a man with a chainsaw


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Steve in PA
February 22, 2005, 12:46 PM
One of the resonding offiers was one of mine. Talked to him yestreday, he was still a bit rattled but thanked me and my other instructor for the firearms training we make them go through.

Chain saw-wielding man killed (http://www.timesleader.com/mld/timesleader/news/local/10961860.htm)

William Henkle is shot multiple times after he allegedly attacked officer with power tool in standoff.

By DAVID WEISS dweiss@leader.net


FORTY FORT – Deep red blood stains covered the snow and asphalt on parts of River Street. A few feet away, a chain saw and first-aid kit sat near the curb. They were all remnants of an early-morning standoff that began with a man taunting then attacking a state trooper with a chain saw. It ended with the man being killed after five police officers pumped 13 to 18 rounds of ammunition into him, state police Capt. Ken Hill said.

Hill said officers fired at William Henkle, 40, of 378 River St., when he attacked Trooper Michael Hartzel with the chain saw, cutting the trooper in the back, shoulder and buttocks. But despite being shot and felled to the ground, Henkle got up and continued lunging at officers until he was killed, Hill said. There were 30 shots fired in what police believe was a “suicide by cop,” Hill said.

The officers appear to be justified in using deadly force, Luzerne County District Attorney David Lupas said. Hill said Henkle had a history of mental issues and had been drinking before the seven-minute incident – described by one  neighbor as a “shootout” – that began around 4:45 a.m.

According to Hill: Henkle called 911 and said he was having a heart attack. By protocol, medics along with Forty Fort police were dispatched to the house. But there was no medical emergency at the residence. Instead, police encountered Henkle, already with the saw, in the home’s driveway. The borough officer retreated and called for backup.

Officers from Kingston, Swoyersville and Larksville, along with troopers from the Wyoming barracks, responded to the home Henkle shared with his mother. The officers formed a semicircle around Henkle and tried to convince him to drop the chain saw. Henkle refused and continued to handle the saw in a “threatening manner,” telling police they would have to shoot him to get the saw from him. Officers used pepper spray. Henkle laughed at them and revved the chain saw. Then he went after Hartzel.

The trooper fired, spun away from Henkle to retreat and was cut with the saw. The four other officers then fired at Henkle. He was hit numerous times, but continued toward another officer until he was killed. Hill identified the firing officers as troopers Hartzel, Stephen Polishan and Cpl. Sean Georgia, Swoyersville Cpl. Adam Christian, and Larksville officer John Price. Five other officers could not fire because of crossfire concerns.

Three homes were struck with bullets, Hill said. Hartzel was treated for minor injuries. “He’s a very lucky individual,” Lupas said. The officers involved in the shooting will take part in counseling programs. The busy River Street area remained closed most of Monday as police scoured the scene. Henkle’s saw remained on the ground near a puddle of blood behind a Forty Fort patrol car.

Across the street, Massachusetts resident John Zawada shoveled snow from the sidewalk of a relative’s home. Hours earlier, he and his wife were sleeping inside the home when they were awakened by the ruckus. “It sounded like a shootout,” he said. Zawada said his wife heard the chain saw and the couple peered outside. But not for too long. As they looked out, noticing flashing lights from patrol cars, they soon heard a flurry of gunshots. “All of a sudden, the gunfire went off,” he said. “We ducked.” Lupas said police did not fire until Henkle charged at Hartzel.

Henkle, Lupas said, had several opportunities to drop the saw and end the event, even after police used pepper spray and wielded a baton. “It was his acts that left the officers with no other choices,” said Lupas, who commended the officers for their bravery and willingness to risk their lives to uphold the law.

Henkle didn’t appear to live a very social life, a neighbor said. Scott Edwards lives in a home behind the Henkle residence. He said Henkle often acknowledged neighbors with a friendly hello, but seemed a bit on the “strange side.” Never, Edwards said, did he think Henkle would commit a violent act. “He was friendly.”

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Preacherman
February 22, 2005, 12:49 PM
Already under discussion here (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=126808).

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