One Middletown police officer and a suspect were injured and two police cars were severely damaged, but police officials said the incident this morning could have had a “much worse” outcome.
Jason Cooper, 49, allegedly pulled out a knife after Middletown officers responded to a call of a disturbance involving an intoxicated subject around 1 a.m. in the 100 block of Bavarian Drive, police said during a press conference.
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The female complainant told Middletown officer Patrick Glassburn that Cooper was hiding in the bushes and he was intoxicated. Cooper allegedly exited the bushes and approached Glassburn with a knife in his right hand, said Maj. David Birk. Glassburn told Cooper to drop the knife, and when he refused, the officer deployed his taser and shocked Cooper, but did not have any affect, Birk said.
Cooper than entered Glassburn’s running cruiser and “purposefully rammed” another police cruiser driven by Officer Ryan Morgan, disabling both police cruisers, police said. Cooper continued to resist arrest and was finally placed in custody.
Cooper was not cooperative with police and laughed at officers when they responded to the accident scene. Officers recovered a knife Cooper allegedly would not drop when first approached by Glassburn.
Police believe Cooper was listening to police dispatch scanner traffic prior to the incident and he had “more than enough time” to flee if he wanted, Birk said.
Birk said the incident will be investigated and reviewed. He added that officers leave their cruisers routinely on traffic stops and approach vehicles. Birk said Glassburn, who started with the department in December 2018, followed police procedure.
This was the first time a Middletown police cruiser was stolen since 2011.
Birk said Glassbun showed “great restraint” in not firing his weapon, because if he had the incident could have gone “the other way. We are fortunate we had this outcome.”
Morgan was transported to a hospital and released after medical treatment, Birk said. Morgan was “fortunate to be here” after the accident.
Cooper was transported to Atrium Medical Center for medical treatment while in police custody. He remains in the hospital, police said.
Cooper will be charged with felonious assault, a second-degree felony; aggravated vehicular assault, a third-degree felony; grand theft felony, of the fourth degree; aggravated menacing, a first-degree misdemeanor; assault on a police officer, a fourth-degree felony; obstructing official business, resisting arrest, driving under suspension and criminal tools.
Morgan, is a former K-9 officer whose dog was recently retired, Birk said.
“Thank God he didn’t have the dog or it probably would not have survived,” Birk said.