Tahlequah Daily Press

December 31, 2013

Man wielding hammer, Bible arrested after being tased

By JOSH NEWTON
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Police say a 33-year-old Tahlequah man wielding a hammer and a Bible had to be electrocuted with a taser four times Saturday when he held another man in a headlock and claimed he was “doing the Lord’s work.”

Mitchell D. Hummingbird was being held Monday at the Cherokee County Detention Center with a $35,000 bond. Hummingbird could face charges of assault and battery with a deadly weapon, assault and battery on an officer, resisting, and public intoxication.

Deputy Michael Cates was asked to investigate an altercation between Hummingbird and another man at Butterfly Trailer Park Saturday. Hummingbird came to the door when Cates arrived and allegedly had a hammer and Bible in his left hand. Another man in the home tried to get away from Hummingbird when the door opened, but Hummingbird had the man by his shirt collar.

Cates said he grabbed Hummingbird and pulled him outside of the home, but Hummingbird refused to drop his hammer. Cates eventually drew his firearm and held Hummingbird at gunpoint.

According to Cates, the deputy asked Hummingbird to drop the hammer, but Hummingbird refused and continued holding onto the victim by the neck, saying he was “doing the Lord’s work.”

Cates called for assistance from Tahlequah police and the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service. Deputy Josh Girdner soon arrived to help Cates, as did Cherokee Nation Deputy Marshal Bronson McNiel.

McNiel, who carries a taser, ordered Hummingbird to drop his hammer, but Hummingbird allegedly continued to defy officers’ commands and began to wave the hammer around. McNiel deployed his taser on Hummingbird, but the first shot had no effect on the man, who allegedly asked officers if the taser was “supposed to hurt.” McNiel again shot Hummingbird with the taser. The second jolt seemed to affect Hummingbird, but he was able to keep his balance.

According to Cates, Deputy Josh Girdner attempted to take Hummingbird to the ground, but Hummingbird swung his hammer and struck the deputy on the hand while keeping his victim in a headlock. The deputy was eventually able to take Hummingbird down, and the three officers began to battle to get him into custody.

Tahlequah Police Sgt. Jason Girdner arrived and deployed his taser on Hummingbird, but the man allegedly continued to resist and grabbed at the gun belt of Cates. Officer Jason Girdner activated his taser again, and Hummingbird was finally taken into custody.

Deputies said Hummingbird apparently felt he was trying to “save” the victim. He was also under the influence of some substance, and had to seek treatment before he could be booked into jail.

jnewton@tahlequahdailypress.com