How an ax-wielding customer was subdued in a Menasha pawn shop

Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 5:16 PM CDT
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MENASHA, Wis. (WBAY) - An off-duty police officer was in the right place at the right time. A Menasha police officer got into a scuffle with an unruly customer at a local pawn shop -- a customer who was armed with an ax. Customers came to the officer’s aid. We showed you the video on Action 2 News Tuesday night.

Nicole Mischler of Fast-N-Easy Pawn said, “Because he was swearing and stuff, being belligerent, we asked him to leave. He refused to leave, so then we called the cops and he finally did leave and then he came back.”

The 25-year-old Fox Crossing man returned to the store on Appleton Rd. with a full-size ax.

Employees got him to put the ax down before the first officer arrived.

“He made he way into the store to try and de-escalate the situation. He was talking with the man for a couple of minutes, and at one point the man started walking towards the ax and became more agitated,” Nick Oleszak of the Menasha Police Department described.

In the video, you can see the officer position himself between the man and the ax, which was leaning up against the counter, but as he did that the man attacked.

That’s when off-duty Fox Valley Metro Officer Caleb Lyons jumped in.

“It was instinctual, and I think anybody would have done the same thing in my position," Lyons said, "and we just did the best we could to calm the situation down.”

Other customers got involved, too. A man in a plaid shirt pushed the ax away from the scuffle before additional officers arrived.

“When I was in the heat of the moment, I think I was just more concerned with myself and the officer’s safety as well as the subject that’s fighting us. It’s always important that they’re okay, too, when the struggle is over,” Lyons said.

Police subdued the man with a Taser stun gun, but while he was being checked by medical personnel outside the man was able to run away. He was recaptured after a foot chase.

“It was a team effort. The customers, the store acted wonderfully. They’ve been fully cooperative during the investigation and honestly from a community standpoint the support has been awesome," Oleszak said.

Two police officers were treated for injuries. Police tell us the suspect was medically cleared before he was locked up in the Winnebago County Jail.

Police are recommending two charges of Battery to an Officer, Disorderly Conduct while in Possession of a Dangerous Weapon, and Escape.

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