Authorities subdue man after he pulls knife on self before Pitkin County sheriff, others | AspenTimes.com
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Authorities subdue man after he pulls knife on self before Pitkin County sheriff, others

The Aspen Police and Pitkin County Sheriff's Office.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times file photo

A suicidal man who ended up at Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo’s Aspen home Wednesday morning ran from deputies and had to be shocked with a Taser gun after breaking into another nearby home, authorities said.

The 22-year-old man, who held a large knife to his throat and threatened suicide on DiSalvo’s porch, was not identified Wednesday and was being evaluated by mental health professionals, said Pitkin County Undersheriff Ron Ryan. No charges had yet been filed against him as of Wednesday afternoon.

The incident began Wednesday morning in Glenwood Springs and involved “a traffic situation with the Glenwood Springs Police Department,” Ryan said. Details of that incident were not available Wednesday afternoon, though it apparently did not involve a pursuit, he said.

Pitkin County emergency dispatchers received a report of the man’s 2016 blue Nissan Frontier pickup headed upvalley at about 9:20 a.m. The registered owner of the vehicle was known to Pitkin County deputies “from previous contacts involving mental health issues,” a news release said.

A Basalt police officer spotted the truck at 9:28 a.m. on Highway 82 near Emma and reported the driver was speeding, driving recklessly and had run a red light, according to the release. Police officers and sheriff’s deputies stopped westbound traffic between Smith Hill Way and Aspen to prevent interactions with the driver.

A Pitkin County sheriff’s deputy pulled behind the vehicle near Smith Hill Way at 9:40 a.m., the release states. DiSalvo, who knows the man’s family because they live in Aspen, contacted the man by phone not long after and convinced the driver to stop at West Buttermilk Road, drive home to his residence and meet the sheriff at his West End home, according to Ryan and the press release. The man took his bicycle from his home to DiSalvo’s home, Ryan said.

DiSalvo attempted to calm the man on his porch for 15 minutes before three deputies and a mental health professional arrived.

“As soon as the deputies arrived on scene the (man) produced a knife and held it to his own throat in an attempt to harm himself,” according to the release.

The man initially calmed down, but again held the knife to his throat when deputies suggested he go with them for a mental health evaluation at Aspen Valley Hospital.

“With the knife in hand, the driver jumped a short distance from Sheriff DiSalvo’s porch and fled on foot with deputies giving chase,” the release stated.

The man ran two blocks away to a home in the 500 block of West Francis Street and used the knife to break a window in the home, which was occupied at the time by one man. The man refused to heed instructions from a deputy, who used a stun gun on him, though he was still able to crawl through the broken window and into the home, which by that time was unoccupied, according to the news release. The man was then taken into custody without further incident.

“Although this incident didn’t end the way we wanted it to, the individual is now safe (and) getting treatment for his existing mental health issues,” DiSalvo said in the release. “I want to commend all of the deputies and officers that were involved in this incident for slowing it down and bringing calm to a very dynamic situation.”

jauslander@aspentimes.com


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