Deputies Use Rubber Bullets To Subdue Man Who Threatened Kill Himself

WATSONVILLE (BCN) — A Watsonville man who held a knife to his throat and made suicidal threats Monday was arrested after the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office incapacitated him with rubber bullets, deputies said.

At about 4:50 p.m. Monday, deputies were called about a disturbance in the 100 block of San Simeon Drive in Watsonville, where they contacted 69-year-old Elmer Saunier on his front porch, sheriff’s Sgt. Kelly Kent said.

Saunier, who appeared distraught, held a hunting knife with a 12- to 15-inch blade to his throat and challenged deputies to shoot him, according to Kent.

Deputies and officers of the Watsonville Police Department set up a perimeter and attempted to negotiate with Saunier about putting down the weapon, Kent reported.

After two hours of fruitless dialogue and fearing that Saunier might harm himself, deputies fired 40mm rubber projectiles at him, hitting the man in his torso and head, deputies said.

The bullets temporarily incapacitated him long enough for deputies to safely put him in handcuffs and place him under arrest, according to Kent.

He was transported to the emergency room at Watsonville Community Hospital where he was treated for minor injuries and released, deputies reported.

Saunier was arrested and booked into the county jail in Santa Cruz on suspicion of brandishing a deadly weapon and obstructing a peace officer, Kent said.

(Copyright 2014, Bay City News, All rights reserved.)

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