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Unusual Foot-Traffic Through Local Home Improvement Store

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Sonora, CA – A taser gun ended a foot pursuit of a suspect believed to be wielding a knife while running through the Sonora Lowe’s store this afternoon.

A store clerk called into Sonora Police Dispatch around 2:30 p.m. on Thursday reporting a man talking to himself and swinging around a knife outside the store on Old Wards Ferry Road. The first officer on the scene saw the suspect had something in his hand and ordered him to put it down. Instead, the subject took off running and headed into the store with the officer chasing him.

Sonora Police Sgt. Curtis Hankins relays, “The suspect ended up going down a couple of aisles. Ran to the back of the store towards the lumber exit. At that point, he [the officer] got close enough and put the suspect at taser point.”

While the officer was able to handcuff the suspect without deploying the taser, he found what was believed to be a weapon was not. “Actually, it ended up being a lighter. One of the extended lighters that someone would use for like a barbeque,” explains Sgt. Hankins. “So, it had a red handle and it had a long black extender from it. It had the appearance of a knife.”

The suspect was identified as 34-year-old William Vannortwick, a transient. He was charged with evading a police officer. No injuries reported in the incident. Sgt. Hankins states no drugs or alcohol were found on Vannortwick.