David Scott, Chief of Police
59 Main St.
Pepperell, MA 01463
For Immediate Release
Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
PEPPERELL – Chief David Scott reports that the Pepperell Police Department subdued a agitated and disturbed man late Saturday night who was wielding a machete in a town neighborhood and may have been trying to commit “suicide by cop.”
Shortly before midnight on Saturday evening, Pepperell Police were dispatched to a Hollis Street residence. Detective Tom Maskalenko arrived on scene within seconds, and as he arrived, the male exited the home and came across the lawn towards Detective Maskalenko’s marked police cruiser.
Detective Maskalenko immediately exited his vehicle and drew his electronic control weapon (Taser). Sergeant William Greathead arrived moments later and provided cover by drawing his department-issued firearm.
The man refused to comply with commands to drop the machete, and Detective Maskalenko made the decision to deploy and fired his Taser, which successfully incapacitated the male. The suspect fell to the ground, and the officers took him into custody, securing the machete.
Sergeant Greathead, the shift supervisor Saturday evening, praised the work of Detective Maskalenko as well as Dispatcher David Stairs.
“They did a great job ensuring the safety of all involved in this incident,” Greathead reported, “Dispatcher 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.”
The male subject was taken to a local hospital for a mental health evaluation. His name is not being released at this time.
“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” said Pepperell Police Chief David Scott. “Everyone involved did their jobs exactly how they were trained, and the use of the Taser likely saved this man’s life.
Pepperell police have been carrying Tasers for about 10 years. They are an invaluable part of the community’s law enforcement efforts.
“Without a Taser, Detective Maskalenko would have been forced to draw his firearm in the face of a suspect, armed with a knife, approaching him at a rapid pace,” Chief Scott said. “The outcome could have been very different.”