A dispute between over loose dogs ended with police arresting a man who they say brandished a shotgun at them. The confrontation between Police Chief Tyler Mermis, Officer Bryce Suffield, and Christopher John Luce, 42, began Monday afternoon with a report of two dogs at large.
A resident caught one of the dogs on Sherman St. and took it to Animal Health Center. Mermis said the other dog continued to evade capture and ran to a residence at 419 N. Freeborn St. According to Mermis, when he pulled up to the residence he was confronted by a “large and angry” Luce, who asked Mermis in explicit terms what he was doing on the property.
Mermis told Luce he would receive citations for his loose dogs. Mermis told City Council Monday that Luce told him where he could stick the citations, figuratively speaking.
Suffield arrived to assist Mermis. Mermis went back to his vehicle to write Luce a citation when he said he heard Suffield say, “Sir drop the gun!”
“He was leaning over the front of his truck with what looked like a rifle pointed at Suffield,” Mermis said. “I quickly pulled my weapon and approached Luce from a different direction to distract him.”
Mermis said Luce then sprinted toward his garage where he grabbed a 12-gauge shotgun. Suffield then subdued Luce with a Taser.
After patting down Luce before booking him into the county jail, police found two shotgun shells in his pocket. They also determined the other weapon was a pellet gun.
Luce remained in jail Tuesday with no bond, accused of assault on officers, battery, disorderly conduct, and interference with an officer. He also received two citations for dogs at large.
“It’s sad the situation ended like that,” Mermis said.
According to Mermis, police has had disputes with Luce before.
Mermis said when Luce pulled the gun, he was not scared.
“My military training kicked in and I was able to handle the situation calmly,” he said. “I’ve had weapons pulled on me before during my time with the Marines.”
Suffield said he was nervous.
“Drawing my Taser is not something I want to do every day,” he said. “I’ve not been in a situation like that before.”
Mermis said situations like that are rare in Marion, but they do happen.
“We will just keep doing our job to keep people safe and protected,” he said. “When someone is threatening my life or the lives of my officers, we’re going to do what we have to, to make sure we’re safe and get to go home and see our families.”
It was the first time Suffield had ever used his Taser in the field. According to Mermis, only one other officer has ever discharged a Taser in the line of duty.