Two off-duty police officers and a civilian bystander tackled a naked man suspected of assaulting a Flagstaff police officer while high on bath salts Saturday in the Highland Mesa area.
According to Flagstaff Police Department, Officer Daniel Beckwith responded to the 2800 block of South Highland Mesa Road at about 6:16 p.m. Saturday to investigate a report of a naked Caucasian man behaving suspiciously. When the officer arrived, the reporting party directed him to a wooded area. The officer could hear the suspect yelling, so he called for more officers to assist him.
Beckwith identified himself as a police officer as he approached the suspect, who was nude and still yelling. The suspect responded by telling the officer to take his clothes off. Instead, Beckwith told the naked suspect to calm down and come talk to him. Rather than calming down, the suspect told the police officer to get on the ground.
According to FPD, the suspect took a “fighting stance” as Beckwith approached him. When the officer told him to turn around and put his hands up, the suspect instead started walking toward him. He ignored orders to stop even after the officer pulled out his Taser.
When the officer shot the suspect with the Taser, it had no effect.
FPD officials said the suspect then assaulted Beckwith, causing both men to fall down a rocky hill. Beckwith sustained severe lacerations and bruises and was unable to stand after the fall.
The suspect was able to get up. An off-duty Northern Arizona University Police Department officer, an off-duty Department of Public Safety officer and a civilian bystander then tackled the suspect, who continued to fight. Other FPD officers then arrived to restrain him.
The officer and suspect were both taken to Flagstaff Medical Center for treatment. Hospital staff eventually moved the suspect to the Intensive Care Unit, though it is unclear whether the move was due to injuries he sustained during the fall or another medical reason.
The suspect has been identified as a 25-year-old resident of Scottsdale. According to Flagstaff police, he may have a history of mental illness. Police are also investigating whether he was under the influence of bath salts or a similar mind-altering drug.
Beckwith's body camera recorded the encounter. The case is still under investigation.