Harrisburg Acting Police Chief Thomas Carter and Mayor Linda Thompson said Monday city officers would have been justified in using deadly force against a man who had attacked three patrolmen with a knife.
The incident happened early Sunday morning at 6th and Oxford streets in Uptown. Police said Lamarkus Williams already had stabbed his mother in the face and chest before they arrived.
Police said Williams was having a “possible mental episode.” Carter said his officers had encountered Williams before, but this is the first time he’s been this violent.
When police arrived, they said Williams came outside swinging a board at the officers. One officer attempted to use a taser. Williams went back in and three officers followed. That’s when the police discovered Williams had a knife, and he began to attack them. Police said two officers were stabbed in the back or arm and another was sliced across the head.
“The same weapon was used to stab four people. You have contaminants, blood and stuff on there, which could lead to other problems,” said Carter.
One officer was able to use his taser to stop Williams and arrest him.
Police identified the officers involved as Duane Pyles, Edwin Powell, and Christopher Auletta.
The officers’ injuries were not life threatening. They were treated and released from Harrisburg Hospital.
Chief Carter said it’s unclear when the officers will be able to return to work.
Both Carter and Mayor Thompson said Monday they believe the officers would have been justified using deadly force against Williams.
“Under their superior training that they receive, they did not use that kind of force. They used restraint,” said Thompson.
Captain Annette Oates added the officers were in a dark, confined area in the house and unsure if they would end up injuring one of their own.
Police said Williams’ mother was taken to Penn State Hershey Medical Center for treatment but did not have an update on her condition Monday.
Police charged Williams with four counts of attempted homicide, three counts of aggravated assault on police, resisting arrest and possession of instruments of a crime.