MADISON (WKOW) — A man who police say was suicidal and armed with a knife walked into an occupied home on Tucson Trail Friday night, and a short time later attempted to enter a second residence on Pilgrim Road, before he was captured.
James Fields tells 27 News the man walked unannounced into his basement TV room at his property on Tuscon Trail.
“Had I not had dogs, he probably would have confronted me,” Fields tells 27 News.
When the armed man tried the door on Pilgrim Road, homeowner Kristi Stephens was vacationing with family in St. Louis. But her home is equipped with a Ring security video system, and through the system’s app she saw video of the would-be intruder at her door.
“And I saw the knife in his hand and my stomach and heart just dropped,” Stephens tells 27 News.
Stephens called police, and also received a call back from an officer. “They were actually happy we had video of him especially with the knife in his hand.”
Other area residents with surveillance cameras also had video of the 23-year old man on porches and at front doors. Photos and video were posted by Stephens and others to the Next Door social media app as the suspect continued to elude police.
“It was just I need to let people know as quickly as possible so somebody doesn’t get hurt,” Stephens tells 27 News.
Multiple officers flooded the area, setting up a perimeter. They spotted and chased the suspect before safely taking him into custody on Riva Road shortly after midnight, according to a Madison police incident report.
Riva Road resident Brandon Smith tells 27 News the suspect was arrested on his front lawn, but due to the social media posting, he was a witness to everything without stepping out of his house.
“It was really nice to be able to stay away from windows, doors, stuff like that, away from the action and still be able to see exactly what was going on,” Smith tells 27 News.
“That all happened in real time,” Fields says. Fields tells 27 News he appreciates the digital networking, and acknowledges it reinforced the danger he was in when the stranger was inside his home. “It was very disconcerting,” Fields tells 27 News.
Authorities say when the intruder suspect was contacted by officers, the man, with whom the Madison police has had past prior contacts due to strange behavior, said he wanted to hurt himself and needed medical help.
Police officials the suspect was taken to a hospital, and remains there. Madison police say they do have probable cause to arrest him for disorderly conduct while armed, burglary, and resisting.