St. George, Utah — A man wielding what he called his “battle-ax” and sporting body armor threatened his family and neighbors with explosives at 11 p.m. Sunday night, and the situation developed into Monday morning. He also threatened the incoming police officers. While no explosives were found in his house, a long stand-off ensued which ended in 38-year-old Benjamin Dee Wilcken’s arrest.
SWAT was dispatched to his house, along with local police and county deputies, and they evacuated the area due to the threat of explosives. Police officers entered the home and Wilcken refused to follow directions. They continued to try to negotiate, but he would not comply. At this point it was unclear whether or not children were somewhere in the home with him or not.
Two officers fired tasers into him, but they seemed to have little to no effect. Another officer fired a round into Wilcken’s chest, but he was wearing body armor. Wilcken retreated back to the garage with his medieval battle-ax; there authorities continued to negotiate for several hours.
At 3 a.m. the suspect surrendered and was placed into police custody. Officers conducted a thorough search of the home and found no explosives as Wilcken had threatened.
Wilcken was taken the hospital, but despite the tasers and bullet to the chest, he was relatively unharmed, barring a couple small, self-inflicted injuries. He was put in jail on charges of “second-degree felony complaints of assaulting a police officer and making threats against a person or property, in addition to misdemeanor complaints of disorderly conduct and intoxication.”
This was allegedly not the first time Wilcken had assaulted a Police Officer — he was charged with this back in 2013.
This comes in sharp contrast to the recent viral video where a police officer shot and killed Daniel Shaver, who was pleading for his life. These situations are volatile, but police officers of SWAT, Cedar City Police and Iron County Deputies were able to de-escalate a situation in which a man was clearly brandishing a weapon — a medieval battle-ax, no less. Tasers were used and a round was fired, which could have easily turned deadly, but it was used in moderation with lengthy negotiations and restraint.
Featured image courtesy of Iron County Sheriff’s Office