Man hospitalized under Baker Act after car fire in Miami

Suspect refused to drop knife, police say

By Madeleine Wright - Reporter, Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor

MIAMI - One person was taken into custody and hospitalized under Florida's Baker Act Monday morning after Miami police officers responded to a report about a car fire.

The fire was reported in the area of Northwest First Court and 15th Street.

Miami police Officer Christopher Bess said the vehicle caught fire because of mechanical issues.

He said the suspect was holding a knife and refused several commands to drop the weapon. 

According to a witness who spoke to Local 10 News reporter Madeleine Wright, he and the suspect, who he identified only as Mr. Chen, had just gotten back from the beach and had parked the vehicle near a corner store.

Stephen Williams said he noticed the car was smoking because the chassis was rubbing up against the back passenger-side tire, which was losing air, and chastised Mr. Chen for not filling up tire with air beforehand like he had told him to.

Williams said Chen, who is a sushi chef, was holding onto his sushi knives and didn't obey officers' commands to drop the knives because they were considered his "sacred, special knives." 

"He's a real sushi chef. Knives are his life," Williams said. "He could care less about any of this. He needs the knives to carve the fish, to make the sushi, to prepare his food."

Williams said he believes Chen was scared in the situation and might suffer from mental issues. 

He claims that officers lunged at Chen to subdue him. 

Bess said the suspect eventually cooperated with officers so he could be taken into custody and he will be assessed by doctors at the Jackson Memorial Crisis Center. 

The suspect's identity was not immediately released. 


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