News: 1995-05.15-SwordMan

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T: Stun Gun Subdues Sword Wielder
S: Fremont police arrest threatening man clad in medieval suit
A: Scott Herhold,Mercury News Staff Writer
D: 15-May-1995
C: San Jose Mercury News

In a confrontation rooted in the 20th century, Fremont police Saturday used a timeless implement-- a bean bag-- to subdue a man in 13th century armor.

Officers said they wrestled the 38-year-old man to the ground after firing a "bean bag" stun gun at him when he advanced threateningly on police. What was different about the incident-- which occurred putside a Fremont apartment complex-- was the man's garb, his weapon, and the style of his threat. Officers said he brandished a three-and-a-half-foot sword, wore a medieval suit of clothes and threatened to behead the first officer he confronted.

"It was all done in about 10 seconds," said Officer Adam Carpenter. "All you could see was a big sword... He wasn't yielding to any verbal commands."

The incident began about 3 p.m. when Fremont police received a call from a suicide prevention worker that a man at 3939 Monroe Ave. was telling them he wanted to die. Sgt. Dan Pasquale said officers made telephone contact with the man, who threatened to leave his apartment and attack police with a sword so they would shoot him.

At 4:20 p.m., Pasquale said, the man left the apartment and advanced on the officers in full medieval gear, including a leather belt that held a three-foot-long battle hammer and a scabbard for the sword. Police said the man ignored repeated orders to drop the sword and came within 15 feet of them before he was shot once with the stun gun. Four officers then took him into custody.

The man, who police identified as Mark Draper, was taken to Washington Hospital for observation, then booked into Santa Rita Jail on two counts of assault with a deadly weapon. While the police said the man's choice of gear was unusual, the phenomenon of someone trying to goad police into shooting him was not. Law enforcement officials have dubbed such cases "officer-assisted suicide", and say the number of such cases appears to be on the upswing, particularly in domestic disputes.