A tense foot-chase and several stand-offs with a knife-wielding man in the city’s west end ended without injury.
Jovel Stewart, 25, is alleged to have brandished two knives at police officers and refused repeated orders to drop his weapons, is facing several charges, including possession of a concealed weapon and failure to comply with probation.
As Constables Thomas Makarenko and Colin Patrick – the first officers on the scene – approached the suspect, he allegedly produced a large knife and took up a combative stance. The officers drew their weapons and engaged the suspect with tactical communications.
“The stand-off with him was at the centre of an intersection and there were about 20-30 cars that had stopped,” said Makaraneko.
The suspect took the opportunity to flee on foot with the officers in pursuit.
Running northbound on Keele St., the man ran into the side of a police vehicle driven by Constable Peter MacSteven. He slipped and dropped the knife.
As Makaraneko and Patrick approached him, the suspect got back on his feet and produced a smaller knife. With their firearms drawn, the officers again engaged the man who was unresponsive to their commands and fled on Arrowsmith Avenue.
Making his way through several rear yards, the man confronted four officers who, with their firearms drawn, continued tactical communications
“He was coming towards us at a quick pace and we instructed him to stop,” said Makarenko, before the man ran from officers again.
After jumping a fence and running southbound on Keele St. towards Flamborough Drive, the man was cornered at the rear of a building at 2300 Keele St.
Sergeant Sandra Gregory deployed a Taser and the suspect was taken to the ground, disarmed and placed in custody.
“The whole incident lasted about eight minutes and it was very dynamic and fluid,” said Makarenko, who has been with the Service for six years. “The surroundings and the behavior changed rapidly and we had to adapt to each situation was if it was new.”
Superintendent Scott Weidmark, the 12 Division unit commander, had high praise for his officers.
“The officers involved in this situation demonstrated tremendous restraint,” he said. “Numerous times, the officers backed off and continued communicating with the man, and each other, acting in accordance to training and with a definitive effort to preserve life.
“They made every attempt to contain the subject until a sergeant could catch up with this rapidly moving and dynamic situation. It is clear that, if one of these officers had been issued with a Taser, the situation could have been resolved much sooner with less risk to the man whom we arrested, to each other and the public.”