BANGOR, Maine — Local police officers dealt with a tense situation Tuesday night when a man armed with a knife refused to drop the weapon even though two officers had their guns pointed at him, Bangor police Sgt. Paul Edwards said Wednesday.
“It was one of those touch-and-go situations,” he said. “Police officers were faced with one of those deadly force situations, and it could have gone really badly. Both officers should be commended for what they did, or at least noted for their actions.”
Someone at the Summer Street Clinic, located across the street from the police station, called police at around 4:45 p.m. Tuesday to report an armed disorderly man was in the clinic and refused to leave, Edwards said.
Baljinder Singh, 46, of Bangor was in the clinic’s lobby with his right hand hidden behind his back when Bangor police Detective Eric Tall and Officer Rob Angelo arrived.
“When the officers demanded to see his right hand, the man produced a large knife, approximately 8 inches long in blade length and started making demands that were inaudible,” Edwards said. “Both officers immediately drew their firearms and demanded he drop the knife.”
The fact that officers could not understand what Singh was saying intensified the situation, the sergeant said.
“His accent made it difficult to understand what he was saying,” Edwards said. “It wasn’t clear what he wanted.”
What was crystal-clear was that the man with the knife was aggravated, he said.
Angelo defused the situation when he sprayed Singh in the face with chemical pepper spray, and Singh dropped the knife.
Singh was arrested on a charge of felony criminal threatening and taken to Penobscot County Jail, where he remained Wednesday afternoon.
Summer Street Clinic is a small walk-in health clinic that primarily serves Bangor’s homeless and transient population and is operated by Penobscot Community Health Care.
Singh has had a few run-ins with Bangor police, but before his arrest Tuesday, never had been arrested by local officers, Edwards said.
If convicted of the felony charge, he could face a penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.