Attacker punches officer, gets Tased
Local law enforcement has had a rough and tumble few days.
“We’ve had a real group of all stars lately,” as Glenwood Springs Police Chief Terry Wilson put it Monday.
In a video circulating Sunday and Monday on Facebook, an onlooker captured a Glenwood Springs police officer and Garfield County deputy detaining a 35-year-old man who Wilson said was involved in a “long and rambling multivictim incident.”
The man was arrested felony charges of second-degree assault on a police officer, biased motived crimes and false imprisonment among other crimes.
The deputy in this case sustained at least one hard punch to the face, and he ended up with 20-some stitches on his brow, said Wilson.
The incident began at the Glenwood Springs Wal-Mart, where Joel Lohmeyer was reportedly exhibiting extremely odd and violent behavior, screaming threats and pushing people, Wilson said.
At one point, Lohmeyer went into the nearby Subway and grabbed someone by the throat. Separately, he accosted a Latino man, calling him a Mexican and a Muslim, then punched him in the neck.
Glenwood Springs police and a Garfield County deputy responded.
Lohmeyer’s first reaction to seeing the uniformed men was to tell them that he was going to go down fighting and that they needed more officers, said Wilson.
He said something to the effect of “Take one step toward me and I’m going to mess you up,” said the chief.
At this point he took his shirt off, purportedly to go to blows, and the officer decided to deploy his Taser. But the 35-year-old was able to pull out the probes and a fight ensued, in which the man landed a couple of solid punches.
After hitting him with a Taser a second time, the officer and deputy were able to take Lohmeyer to the ground and handcuff him.
“I think it’s not a bad thing for people to see this and understand that there are nasty people out there,” said Wilson.
And this wasn’t the only incident over the last few days that local authorities were assaulted or found themselves in threat of extreme violence.
Officers arrested an intoxicated 27-year-old woman near the same location Friday after she was yelling racially charged comments at Latinos in a restaurant..
“She was a real treat to deal with as well,” Wilson said, noting that in the process of being arrested, she kicked and stomped on three Glenwood officers.
And earlier last week, a 39-year-old man was arrested after a traffic stop on Interstate 70.
The man was sweating profusely and clearly jacked up on something, said the chief.
The officer saw a large straight-blade knife in the console next to the man. And when the officer asked him to step out of the vehicle, the man started screaming that the officer was going to have to kill him to get him out of the vehicle.
The man indicated that he would use the knife to force the officer kill him before going to prison, according to an affidavit.
To leverage him away from the knife, the officer grabbed his arm that was hanging out of the window. And at one point the man was reaching for the knife, according to a police report.
After backup arrived they finally got him out of the vehicle and into custody with only abrasions from taking him to the ground.
“There were points in that contact where there very likely could have been deadly force deployed,” said Wilson.
Officers getting banged up from these kinds of arrests is not uncommon. But in the incident caught on video, the suspect does seem a bit more committed and aggressive than police usually see, said the police chief. “This guy squared off right from the beginning.”
“Use of force is always such a gut check. When confronted with someone, there’s such a fine line in being able to rapidly figure out what your dealing with, assessing your surroundings and that person’s ability to physically injure you. It’s a lot more subjective than people think it is or should be.”
“I think they did a great job with it, considering how violent that guy was. He full-on punched a deputy in the face. They showed, in my opinion, extreme restraint.”
There is a common denominator in these cases of suspects who are likely on drugs and becoming violent in the community, said Wilson.
The man pulled over on I-70 was suspected of being high on methamphetamine, cocaine or both. In the vehicle officers found 7.2 grams of methamphetamine, 5.9 grams of cocaine, 15 percocet, a scale and a glass pipe, according to a police report.
Lohmeyer exhibited behavior consistent with being on methamphetamine, and the woman who kicked several officers at least appeared to be intoxicated, said Wilson.