CHICO, Calif. - A Chico firefighter was reminded Friday morning that even routine duties can be dangerous, as he said he was assaulted by an elderly man with an 8-10 inch steak knife.
While performing a routine area check at Fire Station 5 on Manzanita Ave. at approximately 8:30 a.m. Dave Moncada encountered an elderly man who appeared to be homeless.
The man and his belongings were on the 911 memorial in front of the fire station.
Moncada said he asked the man to "move along" and returned inside the fire station.
An hour later he noticed that not only was the man still there but that there was vomit on the 911 memorial.
"And I told him, 'Okay, it's really time for you to go now,'" said Moncada.
But Moncada said the man wasn't going to leave without a fight and took out that steak knife.
"And then he stood up and got his blanket and swatted at me to distract me," said Moncada. "And with his other hand, he took two swats at me with the knife."
Moncada said the knife came within three feet of striking him.
He returned to the fire station and his chief called police while the man took off on a bicycle.
A short time later the man was found in a neighborhood on Arch and Doral Ways approximately a quarter of a mile from the fire station.
Officer Brian Miller of the Chico Police Dept. said the suspect was initially non-compliant but ultimately surrendered.
Miller said it was wise that the man didn't pull out the knife in front of police, as the final outcome could have been deadly.
"When someone presents lethal force that's something that can happen," said Miller.
The man, who remains unidentified, was familiar to Chico Police., who said he could face charges of assault with a deadly weapon.