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Guelph police officer disarms boy swinging sharp glass

Guelph Police Chief Bryan Larkin is proud of the way an officer handled an emergency situation involving a 14-year-old who was harming himself on Saturday.

Police chief proud of officer's restrained use of force

Guelph Police Chief Bryan Larkin is proud of the way an officer handled an emergency situation involving a 14-year-old who police say was harming himself on Saturday night.

Around 8:30 p.m. emergency services were called because a teenager was injuring himself with a weapon. When officers arrived, the boy fled on foot and an officer with the tactics and rescue unit pursued him. 

When the officer caught up, police say the boy confronted him with a shard of glass and attempted to injure the officer.

The officer subdued the teenager without drawing his gun or Taser, Larkin told The Morning Edition host Craig Norris on Tuesday.

We're very proud of his efforts.- Bryan Larkin, Guelph Police Chief

The officer has some "enhanced training in use of force, but also negotiation skills and felt that it was best to overpower the young man and get him the help he needed," Larkin said.

"He was able to disarm him of the piece of glass, which potentially could have caused injury."

The officer was able to subdue the 14-year-old and arrest him, without injuring himself. 

"We're very proud of his efforts," Larkin said. "He used all the different negotiation skills as well as his obviously excellent physical condition to take control of the male."

"Although this is a policing issue because of the weapons, it does speak to the need for enhanced community awareness around mental health and emotional wellness, but it also speaks to long-term funding for those in need."

Echoes of Sammy Yatim shooting death

The situation involving the teenager in Guelph has similarities to the late July streetcar shooting death of 18-year-old Toronto man Sammy Yatim.

Both young men were brandishing edged weapons and both were involved in confrontations with police.

However, the incident in Guelph had a different outcome.

"The potential for serious harm was there. This particular officer made a number of different assessments, made a different number of judgment decisions and in the end also put himself in harm's way," Larkin said.

"Clearly at the end of the day it was about getting the proper help for this young man."

The Guelph teen has been treated and released from hospital and faces charges of assault with a weapon and possession of weapons dangerous. 

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