Members of the South Pasadena Police Department recently were forced to physically subdue a knife-wielding man that was apparently battling mental health issues after he tried to assault a woman at a local coffee shop.

On Jan. 13, in the early evening, So Pas police received a call regarding a man assaulting a female customer at a local Starbucks at 1318 Huntington Dr. When police arrived and contacted the man, there was a brief struggle before the man, later identified as South Pasadena resident Samuel Coop, 33, broke free and took off running down the street.

“He briefly struggled with an officer there and then ran off toward Fremont and Spruce,” Robert Bartl, So Pas police acting captain, said in an email to The Review. “When officers caught up with him, he was still combative.”

There was a brief chase on foot before officers grabbed Cook, who also appeared to be reaching for a weapon in his waist band, and brought him to the ground, according to police.

Coop apparently moved toward the officers while concealing the weapon in his hands. The weapon was later revealed to be a pocket knife.

Coop was arrested at the scene but charges are pending after a mental evaluation is conducted, police said. Charges could include assault with a deadly weapon, among others.

Bartl also said Coop appeared to have been threatening police with a weapon “and was taken down and disarmed by an officer before being taken into custody.”

Interim Police Chief Brian Solinsky credited the officers for preventing a situation that had the potential to ignite a more violent confrontation and injure innocent bystanders or police. Instead, there were no injuries reported in this situation, according to police.

“The officers showed amazing restraint in an incident that presented various tactical and officer safety dilemmas,” Solinsky said in an email to The Review. “The suspect’s actions allowed the officers the opportunity to safely use a chemical agent and make the arrest. The officers’ actions prevented the suspect from hurting himself or anyone else.”

Steve Whitmore
Author

Steve Whitmore is the editor for the South Pasadena Review. Steve has spent more than four decades as an award-winning print and broadcast journalist with a 16-year stint as the senior media advisor for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Steve comes to us from the Keene Sentinel in Keene, New Hampshire, where he covered politics and was a columnist.

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