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Man arrested for threats with machete

Posted: Thursday, Jun 27th, 2013

Rigoberto Rodriguez.

WATSONVILLE — A Watsonville man was arrested Wednesday after allegedly threatening several people with a machete, then fighting with police officers trying to arrest him, the Watsonville Police Department said Thursday.

Rigoberto Rodriguez, 35, was booked into Santa Cruz County Jail and charged with assault, resisting arrest, battery on a peace officer and threatening with intent to terrorize.

Officers responded to a call just after 5 p.m. for a report of a theft in the area of 1964 Freedom Blvd. where the suspect was fighting. While en route, dispatchers reported that the suspect was outside the business making a gesture as if he were going to slit employees’ necks.

When the first officer arrived he saw Rodriguez making a gesture through the window as if he was slitting his neck, which the officer believed to be directed toward people inside the business.

When the officer made contact with Rodriguez, he saw the handle of a machete sticking out of a backpack Rodriguez was holding.

Rodriguez reached for the machete, but the officer grabbed the backpack and threw it out of reach. Rodriguez then tried to punch the officer, but missed.

With help from a bystander, the officer handcuffed Rodriguez, but as he was being placed into the patrol car he kicked and missed at the arresting officer. He then kicked another officer in the upper torso, but the officer was uninjured.

Investigators learned that Rodriguez had reportedly been chasing a female who ran into California Grill at 1970 Freedom Blvd.

Three female employees helped the victim to safety and two of them shielded her as they called 911. Rodriguez then pulled a machete from his backpack and held it over his head in a threatening manner, police said. A third female employee stood in front of Rodriguez to keep him from the others. He left the business and stood in front of the window motioning to the females as if he was slitting his throat, police said.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Watsonville Police Department Crime Tip line at 728-3544 or the Watsonville Police Department Investigation Bureau at 768-3352. Those interested in sending anonymous tips via text message can text TIP WATSPD to 888777 and follow the instructions.

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