Deputies Successfully Disarm Distraught Woman Threatening Suicide
Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Deputies worked together to deescalate and disarm a very distraught woman armed with a knife and threatening suicide. Once disarmed, she was placed in protective custody and provided the services and help she desperately needed.
On June 27, 2018, at approximately 12:20 p.m., Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputies Dan Dutton and Dan Middlebos responded to a welfare check of an adult female. It was reported the female has been trying to cope with the recent death of her husband and a civil dispute with her landlord. She’s been very distraught and possibly thinking of ending her life.
Deputy Dutton, the first to arrive at the residence located in far North Spokane County, received no response at the front door. Looking through a window, he could see the female who appeared to be crying, sitting on a couch holding a picture frame and a large fixed blade knife (approximately 10”).
At first, she would not respond to Deputy Dutton’s attempts to talk to her. Finally, she did respond and told Deputy Dutton she hadn’t received any help, her landlord had won and she wanted Deputy Dutton to leave. Deputy Dutton continued to talk with the female, trying to reassure her there was hope, problems could be resolved and he would try to help her.
Fearing the female might stab herself as she had threatened, when Deputy Middlebos arrived, he immediately went to the back of the residence with his trauma kit. He located an unlocked door and entered the residence hoping he could find a way to safely disarm the woman. As he moved toward the room she was in, he could hear her yelling at Deputy Dutton, telling him to go away and let her do this.
Deputy Dutton continued to try and deescalate the situation but she refused to put the knife down or allow him to help her.
Deputy Middlebos moved to a position where he could see the female sitting on the couch with two small dogs, holding the picture frame and a large knife pointing toward her stomach. Unfortunately, Deputy Middlebos could not get close enough to quickly disarm her before she would have a chance to harm herself.
Waiting for additional units to arrive, Deputy Dutton continued to try and develop trust while trying to convince her to set the knife down. Before assistance could arrive, the female stood up and began to walk toward the hallway where Deputy Middlebos was positioned and unable to stealthily retreat. Hoping she would stop before he was discovered, and not knowing how she would react if he was, Deputy Middlebos decided to draw his taser, risking his own safety as she continued to approach his location.
Deputy Middlebos continued to wait until he had no choice but to slowly reveal himself ordering her to drop the knife. She did not follow Deputy Middlebos’ commands and instead, she began to raise the knife up from her waist area. Deputy Middlebos deployed his taser but one of the two probes struck the picture frame causing the deployment to be ineffective. Startled, the female dropped the picture frame, giving Deputy Middlebos enough time to replace the cartridge and deploy the taser again. This time it was effective causing the female to drop the knife and go to the ground.
Deputy Middlebos kicked the knife out of her reach while Deputy Dutton quickly made his way into the residence to assist.
The female was placed into protective custody and provided medical treatment (per protocol) by medical personnel who had already been staged close by. She was later transported to where she could receive the assistance and services she greatly needed.
Please, if you’re feeling lost, hopeless or thinking about suicide, take a minute to contact one of the many people who want to help you. Call one of the numbers below or just walk into any emergency room, contact a Fireman, a Deputy, an Officer, your church, a family member or friend and simply say, “I need your help.”
509-838-4428 First Call for Help
1-800-273-8255 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-8255, press 1 VA Suicide Hotline