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Machete-wielding man subdued with Taser in Pepperell

Machete-wielding man subdued with Taser in Pepperell

PEPPERELL — Police subdued a machete-wielding man who may have been trying to commit “suicide by cop” late Saturday night, police said.

Pepperell police were dispatched to a Hollis Street residence just before midnight. When Detective Tom Maskalenko exited his cruiser, a man who appeared “agitated and disturbed” exited the house and walked across the lawn toward the officer, according to a statement from John Guilfoil, a spokesman for Pepperell police.

The detective drew his Taser, and Sgt. William Greathead, who arrived moments later, drew his department-issued firearm, the statement said.

The man, who police did not name, refused to drop the machete. The detective subdued the man using his Taser, and officers took him into custody, police said.

The man was taken to a local hospital for a mental health evaluation, the statement said.

Greathead, the shift supervisor, praised the work of the detective and dispatcher.

“They did a great job ensuring the safety of all involved in this incident,” he said. “Dispatcher (David) Stairs kept the subject’s wife on the phone and guided her to a safe place while relaying the info to us at the same time. Their quick action very likely prevented a tragedy.”

Police Chief David Scott said the actions taken by officers likely saved the man’s life.

“In these situations, often a disturbed individual will intentionally approach an officer with a weapon with the goal of being shot and killed by the officer, and that appears to be the case here, based on the words uttered by the individual as he exited the house last evening” Scott said in the statement. “Everyone involved did their jobs exactly how they were trained.”

Follow Melissa Hanson on Twitter and Tout @Melissa__Hanson.

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