Police: Authorities shoot man after he lunges toward them with knife at Evansville Regional Airport

Police: Authorities shoot man after he lunges toward them with knife at Evansville Regional Airport
Published: Nov. 18, 2023 at 4:16 AM EST
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - A man was shot by authorities after he lunged at them with a knife at Evansville Regional Airport, Evansville police say.

The altercation started overnight into Saturday morning near the airport terminal’s ticket counter.

Evansville Police say they were called out around 12:30 a.m. for a report of a person with a knife at the airport. Police said the call described the man as waving the knife around belligerently.

According to police, the man was demanding airport employees to put him on a flight back home. According to police, the demands were serious. That is when police said employees called authorities.

Early on, police said airport security tried to de-escalate the situation. But then, security officers took cover, waiting for police to arrive, according to officers.

Evansville Police Officer Taylor Merriss tells 14 News a law enforcement negotiator was among the first on the scene. She said the negotiator tried to speak with the man, but eventually police had to fire pepper balls, a “less lethal” shotgun and even a taser.

Ofc. Merriss said officers made every opportunity to de-escalate the situation, but she said he advanced it.

Police said the man at one point used the knife he had to stab a seat and carved into it.

Police said he eventually lunged at officers with the knife.

Officer Merriss said Evansville police officers, and other authorities from different agencies fired their guns.

Police said the man was shot and taken to the hospital after officers tried life-saving measures.

Officers tell us the man was speaking when he was taken from the scene.

EPD confirm the man is in critical condition and is still receiving treatment.

The incident happened as there was seemingly not a lot of activity at the airport. The most recent flight had just landed around 11:35 p.m Friday night, with the next flight set to depart around 5:20 a.m. Saturday.

“It happened in the middle of the night when there is not a lot of people here,” Ofc. Merriss said, “We had the opportunity to have all of these different tools that we could utilize to de-escalate the situation. If there were people around or children, you know, we would have to think about using a pepper ball or not because it could affect other people... We have to take into consideration what the suspect could do, and also what, if we were using our tools, how it could hurt people as well.”

We’re told the suspect’s name and pending charges will be released at a later time.

Police also expect a press conference to happen at the beginning of the week.

This is a developing story. We will update this article as information becomes available.