Taser used to prevent suicide in Champaign park
CHAMPAIGN — Champaign police were able to keep a man from killing himself in West Side Park Monday night.
Deputy Chief Joe Gallo said police were called around 6:30 p.m. to the park bandstand, where a 49-year-old man was armed with a knife and threatening to hurt himself.
"We had obvious concerns for his safety and that of others in the park," Gallo said.
Police evacuated the park and surrounded the bandstand while they tried to get the man to put down the knife without harming himself.
After trying unsuccessfully to get the man to cooperate, Champaign police summoned the Champaign County Sheriff's Office, whose deputies are equipped with Tasers. The Champaign Police Department does not use them.
Gallo said the man was hit with a Taser and taken to Carle Foundation Hospital. He was not arrested..
"It was a situation that required us to use some force. Obviously, we wanted to use a minimal amount," Gallo said.
The incident attracted public attention due to the number of police officers present. Gallo estimated six or eight officers were there trying to reason with the man. They even used a friend of his to try to talk him into surrendering.
Gallo estimated officers were in the park about 45 minutes before the situation was resolved.