Allen Park MI Sept 16 2020
A shoplifting incident in Allen Park ended with a potentially life and death situation for police and a man who was chased down and found with a loaded 9 mm handgun in his pants pocket and a knife in his sock.
Nicholas Baker, 38, who is listed as homeless, was arraigned on charges of weapons possession by a felon, weapons felony firearm (second offense), controlled substance possession of crystal methamphetamine, weapons felony firearm (second offense), carrying a concealed weapon, and assault/resisting/obstructing a police officer.
He remains in the Wayne County Jail.
According to police, the ordeal began when officers were called to Dunham’s Sports, 23150 W. Outer Drive, at about 7 p.m. on a shoplifting in progress complaint.
Upon their arrival, Officer Zach Waara spotted a man and a woman who fit the description of the shoplifting suspects.
The two were asked to step to the patrol car for questioning and the woman immediately complied.
Baker, according to police, began to walk to the patrol car, but kept looking back at Waara and reaching towards his pants pocket.
Waara ordered him to put his hands on the vehicle so they could be seen, but Baker allegedly took off running through the parking lot.
Waara, a former member of the U.S. Marines, took off after him and noted that Baker kept reaching towards the waistband of his pants.
The officer shocked Baker with his taser, causing him to fall to the ground, but as Waara tried to place him under arrest, Baker reportedly got up and charged at him, pushing him away.
Police said Waara shocked him with another taser charge and Baker fell to the ground.
Each time after Baker was shocked, which lasts about five seconds, he would immediately start to fight.
Officer Adam Begley arrived and together, they forced Baker to the ground.
Police said Baker still would not release his arms so he could be handcuffed. Instead, he pinned them underneath his body.
Officer Chris Franco arrived and applied pressure to Baker’s tibia nerve in his calf, causing him to surrender almost immediately.
The technique finally allowed officers to handcuff Baker.
The gun, knife and 29.2 grams of suspected crystal meth was found at that point. The substance later tested positive for meth.
Police said the officers got a few scrapes and bruises struggling with Baker.
According to police, the woman who was with him in the store did as she was instructed and never left the patrol vehicle. Police said she had wire cutters inside her purse.
The woman was taken to a hospital for a mental evaluation.
Detective Jim Thorburn has trained officers at the department for the past 20 years or more, including all three involved in Baker’s arrest.
He said this is the kind of scenarios that officers train for. In fact, 90% of their training is scenario-based to help officers best evaluate a situation under pressure and fatigue so they can practice making critical decisions under stress, Thorburn said.
“The officers had a good state of mind where they recognized the situation and did not overreact,” Thorburn said. “They were able to react as the situation developed.”
Thorburn said he was surprised Baker didn’t stay down after the first direct hit of the taser.
“Normally, a person is shut down after that,” the detective said. “It’s what you always fear.”
Police believe Baker had drugs in his system and that kept him from being stopped once he was shocked.
Thorburn commended the officers on a job well done, saying, “they did everything right.”
Begley is a 13-year member of the department. Franco served on other police departments before spending the past six years with Allen Park police. Waara has been on the force for four years.