Man with knife subdued following emergency helicopter landing at Riverside Convention Center

RIVERSIDE – A distraught man armed with a large knife had to be physically subdued after he approached a running police helicopter on Thursday, March 17. According to Riverside Police officials, the helicopter was preparing to take off from the downtown Riverside Convention Center after being repaired following an emergency landing.

The incident began when Riverside PD’s Air Support Unit (AIR-1) was forced to make an unplanned, precautionary landing at the Riverside Convention Center. Riverside Police flight officers in AIR-1 made the unscheduled landing after their helicopter suffered an unspecified mechanical failure.

Minutes before the precautionary landing, AIR-1 had just finished assisting patrol officers in the downtown area following a hit and run involving a stolen car. As they were clearing the scene after the incident, the aircrew noticed a mechanical warning light and made a safe landing at the convention center.

An aircraft mechanic arrived to inspect and repair the helicopter. After the necessary repairs were made, AIR-1 was cleared to fly again.

In a press release from Riverside PD, officials explained, “As the aircrew was getting ready to depart the convention center around 2:20 p.m., a male subject approached the running helicopter just as they were getting ready to lift off.”

A mechanic on the ground warned the subject to back away from the running helicopter and he attempted to escort the man a safe distance from the helicopter. The subject, who officials described as “distraught” refused to comply with the mechanic’s orders to move away from the running helicopter.

Riverside Police officials explained the subject turned and took a fighting stance towards the mechanic, at which time the aircrew saw the subject was in possession of a “large, fixed-blade knife” that was tucked into his belt area.

As the combative man became more aggressive and refused to leave the area, “the Tactical Flight Officer quickly exited the aircraft and safely assisted the subject to the ground with assisting officers where he was detained,” the press release explained.

After subduing the subject and recovering the knife, officers eventually transported the man to a local medical facility for psychiatric evaluation and treatment.

Following the violent confrontation, the aircrew was able to lift off safely and return to the hangar for necessary maintenance.


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