Lynnwood officers use de-escalation tactics to end standoff with suspect threatening self-harm

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Photo of the scene courtesy Lynnwood Police

Lynnwood Police officers successfully used de-escalation techniques to end a standoff on Tuesday with a man who was armed with a knife and threatening self-harm.

The incident began at 2:15 p.m. Officers responded to an unwanted person in the 3100 block of 177th Place Southwest. The suspect, describe as a man in his 50s, had a felony reckless burning warrant and two misdemeanor warrants for impersonating an officer and reckless driving.

“When officers located the suspect, he fled out a rear door of a residence and into a greenbelt,” said Dep. Chief Jim Nelson. “Officers chased the suspect on foot and then saw he had a knife in his hand. Officers were able to contain the suspect, who was now holding the knife to his own neck threatening self-harm.”

Officers immediately got to work, Nelson said, to try to de-escalate the situation. Within minutes, a Lynnwood officer trained in negotiating arrived and began talking to the man. A second officer trained in negotiating came to the scene shortly after.

Meanwhile, several officers began setting up the area and preparing less lethal force options.

“For just under two hours, [negotiating officers] attempted to get the suspect to surrender,” Nelson said. “While negotiations were taking place, the Lynnwood patrol sergeant was developing plans with the officers on scene in the event the suspect started moving against the officers or if negotiations were not working.”

Eventually, Nelson said the negotiators advised that the suspect’s behavior was escalating. Less lethal foam batons were fired at the man. The suspect was struck by these devices and dropped the knife allowing for officers to safely take him into custody.

The suspect was taken to a hospital to be evaluated and will eventually be transported to jail on his warrants.

“In this incident, our patrol supervisor and responding officers, consistently worked to bring this tense situation to a successful conclusion while trying to minimize the potential for injury to the suspect and officers at the scene,” Nelson said. “In crisis incidents like this one, officer actions are highly predicated on the actions of the person in crisis.  Fortunately, in this case the suspect was able to be contained with minimal force as he stopped posing an immediate threat to officers or others, which allowed the officers to slow the incident down and put their de-escalation training, tactics and experience into use.”

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