[UPDATE 7:19 p.m.–Interview with Chief Chapman] APD Officer fires at Man With Hatchet

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This is a press release from the Arcata Police Department. The information has not been proven in a court of law and the individuals described should be presumed innocent until proven guilty:

On May 2, 2015, at about 2:24 PM, police officers from the Arcata Police Department responded to the report of a man vandalizing a vehicle with a hatchet in the 700 block of Bayside Road.

Two witnesses saw a man armed with a hatchet prowling around an apartment complex, trying apartment and vehicle doors, and also looking in apartment windows . The man reportedly broke a car window with the hatchet.

When officers arrived on scene they attempted to contact the man who was still in possession of the hatchet. While an officer was giving orders to drop the hatchet, the man raised and threw the hatchet at the police officer. The officer discharged one round from his firearm. The man was not struck by the round. The man then ran away from the officers.

Officers pursued him on foot and after a brief chase he surrendered and was taken into custody without further incident.

The man, 34-year-old Matthew Adam Lavallee, of Arcata, was transported to the Mad River Community Hospital where he was medically cleared for jail as a precaution. Lavallee was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility for 245(c) PC Assault With a Deadly Weapon Upon a Peace Officer, 148(a)(l ) PC – Resisting a Peace Officer, and 549(8)(1) PC Vandalism .

UPDATE 7:19 p.m.: According to Arcata Police Chief Tom Chapman, “The suspect has had limited contact with APD in the past…but not of a criminal nature…and nothing similar to this behavior.

“I don’t know if there are mental health or drug issues or a combination thereof,” Chapman said. Chief Chapman also said the suspect has “no known associations with the apartment complex that we know of at this time.”

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8 comments

  • Kudos to the officer who apparently chose to miss at the last second….

    • Chose to miss, or a fumbled shot? Where did the bullet go? What was it lodged into? How far away was the nearest innocent person? Had the man already thrown the hatchet when he shot? Did he have any other weapon? Take their guns. Give them a helmet and a club. Works in England.

      • Yes – it seems we’re a little “shoot first & ask questions later” here….
        BTW, this must be the classic “deer in the headlights” look – I’d look like that permanently if a police officer took a shot at me!!!!

  • Glad that the officer didn’t kill him. We could have seen rioting.

  • LAZY SKUNK RANCH

    Does anyone know the difference between a Peace Officer and Law Enforcement? Both seem radically different and one can’t be the other as the words have different meanings.

  • Reeker Tinklebottom

    If the order of events is accurate, the man threw the hatchet then the officer fired at him. So unless the officer is alleging that this guy had a second hatchet or something, then the officer shot at an unarmed person.

  • What ever happened to REAL COPS?
    COPS THAT NEVER HAD AN ISSUE DISARMING AN IDIOT WITHOUT THE USE OF A GUN?
    THESE COPS HERE ARE A BUNCH OF CORRUPT SCARED PUNKS.
    REMEMBER: NEVER TRUST A COP!
    SHAME ON YOU COPPER! WUSS!

  • dirkaDirkinson

    what up with our local enforcement?
    this officer needs to be sent back to the range for a few practice hours.
    was he impaired or whats the official reason he fired off a round without hitting anything?
    are these guys just stupid or what?
    firing a lethal round into the neighborhood or what?

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