Police detain man who set fire, attempted ‘suicide by cop’

Police detained a man who set fire to his mother’s house then fled saying he was going to attempt “suicide by cop.”

The incident happened on Flint Glenn Lane in University City. When officers arrived to assist firefighters responding to the house fire, a woman told them her son intentionally set her home on fire then ran away.

The son had a knife in his hand when he left and said he was going to get a gun nearby, in an attempt to get the police to shoot and kill him, according to a CMPD news release.

Police helicopter pilots located the man on Withersham Drive and patrol officers arrived shortly after and saw the man holding a knife to his throat. Officers commanded the man to drop the knife, but he wouldn’t comply.

They fired a Taser at the man, but it missed. Then the man threw down his knife and was tackled by an officer.

After a short struggle, the man was taken into custody. He later told officers “he did not have access to a firearm, but made the statements to influence the police response to him,” according to a CMPD news release.

The man was taken to Carolinas Medical Center for minor injuries and an evaluation. He had not been charged late Thursday.

Cleve R. Wootson Jr.: 704-358-5046, @CleveWootson