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Police convince man with knife to drop weapon, seek treatment

An officer working a detail Wednesday night at a Hyde Park Stop & Shop peacefully disarmed a man with a knife who was yelling, “just shoot me,” Boston police said.

The officer was able to persuade the man to seek treatment, according to a statement from Police Commissioner William B. Evans, who praised the handling of the situation.

“I want to commend my officers for their professionalism, restraint, and compassion during an interaction that could have resulted in the use of deadly force,” Evans said. “They recognized that this man needed help, and relied on their training to bring this potentially tragic situation to a peaceful resolution.”

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Police said they first received calls about the man making threats with a knife near 875 Canterbury St. just before 8 p.m., but officers couldn’t find him when they went to the scene.

The officers shared a description of the man, who witnesses said was in his 20s and wearing all black and a gray and black bandanna over
his face, police said in a statement.

Soon after, the detail officer said he saw the man go into the Stop & Shop at 950 American Legion Highway, according to the statement.

“The officer observed a silver knife in the man’s hand and could clearly see that he appeared to be distraught,” the statement said.

The officer approached the man and began speaking with him while backup arrived and secured the area, police said.

“As the officer continued to speak to the man, he began to repeatedly scream, ‘just shoot me,’” the statement said, and he “raised the knife up to his neck or pointed directly into his stomach while threatening to hurt himself and others.”

The officer replied numerous times, “We aren’t going to shoot you — we just want to get you some help,” the statement said.

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The officer was able to keep his distance and keep talking to the man, police said, and he eventually got him to agree to drop his weapon and turn himself over to paramedics.

The man was hospitalized for treatment and evaluation. He was not charged, according to a police spokeswoman.


Dylan McGuinness can be reached at dylan.mcguinness@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DylMcGuinness.