Saugus Local 1003 Member Subdues Assailant in Police Stabbing

August 13 • 2020

What initially seemed like a typical theft investigation call in Saugus, Massachusetts, quickly escalated into a life-threatening knife attack on the investigating officers. But thanks to the quick actions of a Local 1003 member, the attacker was subdued, and the officers are expected to fully recover from their wounds.

“As emergency responders, we are all trained to expect the unexpected. We have to be ready for anything,” says 3rd District Vice President Jay Colbert. “I am proud that our member was able to work with these brave police officers to stop the suspect and take him into custody.”

The initial call came in for police to respond to a report of a stolen U-Haul van. When they arrived, the suspect refused to come outside his home to discuss the charge, displaying signs of mental health instability.

Saugus Local 1003 members were also dispatched to the scene to help officers breach the door and to be on medical standby for the behavioral health concerns. Greg Cinelli was among those responders.

Because the suspect refused to come outside, police were forced to go inside, where the suspect was armed with a knife.

“I was still outside when I heard a blood-curdling scream,” says Cinelli. “I rushed inside to see the suspect aiming a knife at the officers and blood everywhere.”

Cinelli, who served several combat tours as a U.S. Navy Corpsman attached to the Marines and has a brown belt in Jiu Jitsu, stepped in to help stop the attack.

“I wear leather-padded work gloves on calls because it is easier to grip and handle equipment,” he says. “It served me well that day because I was able to grab the blade, wrist lock him and remove the weapon without being cut.”

Cinelli then held the suspect in a kimura lock, a Jiu Jitsu shoulder hold, so that police officers could secure his hands and legs as the suspect continued to put up a fight.

Three of the officers were treated for non–life-threatening stab wounds. Meanwhile, the suspect has been charged with three counts of attempted murder and various other charges and is being held in the Bridgewater State Hospital for a mental health evaluation.