Machete Madman Stopped: Martial Arts Expert Helps Police
By ELIZA BARLOW, EDMONTON SUN
March 28, 2006
A martial arts expert helped avert a potentially deadly tragedy when a machete-wielding man charged at a city cop in a crowded West Edmonton Mall food court. Michael Jerace, who competes in mixed-martial arts King of the Cage fights, said he was standing in the Phase 3 food court Sunday when he heard a "ruckus" and shouts of, "Drop it!"
A man was darting around the food court brandishing a 12-inch machete in a frantic attempt to shake the pack of cops and mall security guards pursuing him. "It was like a pinball machine, how he was running and jumping on tables," Jerace, 32, told the Sun yesterday. Jerace said a female police officer told him to get out of the way, but then "dove out of the way" herself as the man confronted her.
Jerace said the man was then coming straight for him. Luckily for Jerace and the rest of the food-court patrons, his martial arts instincts kicked in. "I kind of side-stepped him and right-kicked him above the knees and he went down. He went flying and the knife went flying." The man got on his hands and knees and grabbed the machete, Jerace said, but the tumble had given police time to catch up to him.
"The cops started hitting him with their batons, so I just stood there and watched the festivities," said Jerace. "He wouldn't let go of that knife." Police spokesman Karen Carlson said police responded to the mall food court just after 5 p.m. after getting a report that someone was selling drugs and might have a machete.
When the man charged at the female cop with the machete, she made the split-second decision to "back away" instead of drawing her gun, said Carlson. "The main factor in why she didn't pull the firearm out is because of the number of people that were there." Carlson said the man was arrested after he was "tripped" by an unidentified mall patron.
Jerace said he was baffled that no police or security staff spoke to him after the takedown. "I couldn't believe I didn't even get a 'thank you' from that woman cop," he said. "Someone could have been hurt, the way he was going with that knife at waist-level. All it would have taken was for some little kid to be coming with their order." Carlson acknowledged Jerace was "instrumental" in the successful takedown of the man. "The event certainly turned out much better than it could have."
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin