Monday, December 5, 2022

Police Deploy Taser After Ukiah Man Allegedly Charges Them with Improvised Spear, Says UPD


The following is a press release issued by the Ukiah Police Department. The information has not been proven in a court of law and any individuals described should be presumed innocent until proven guilty:

On 1/17/22 at approximately 0611 hours, UPD Officers were dispatched to the apartments at the 100 block of  Observatory Ave. regarding a male brandishing a knife. The male was described as a white male wearing all brown clothing. While in route to the call, UPD Dispatch told officers the suspect was now trying to break through an apartment window.  

Upon arrival, a UPD officer contacted the suspect later identified as Andrew Custer, on the lawn of the apartment complex. Custer was quickly advancing toward the officer and mumbling incoherently. Custer was also carrying what appeared to be a 4-foot-long broomstick. The officer noticed there was a knife with a blade approximately 6.5 inches long that was tied to the end of the broomstick. Custer was using the weapon as a  spear and was thrusting forward in a stabbing motion as he was advancing toward the officer.  

The officer immediately pointed his department-issued sidearm at Custer and began giving orders to drop the weapon and stop advancing. Custer ignored the orders and continued to advance. The officer recognized Custer from numerous prior law enforcement contacts and knew Custer had severe mental health disorders.  

The officer retreated backward and behind his vehicle while Custer continued to advance. At one point, Custer was approximately 8-10 feet from the officer. The officer retreated backwards and circled his entire patrol car approximately 1.5 times trying to put distance between him and Custer. At that point, a second UPD officer arrived at the scene and was able to deploy his Taser. The Taser darts effectively contacted Custer in the back,  causing Custer to immediately fall to the ground. UPD officers immediately placed Custer in handcuffs with his hands behind his back without further incident.  

During the investigation officers learned that Custer forced his way into an apartment and began stabbing at the occupants with his homemade spear. The occupants were able to force Custer out of their apartment and close the door on him. Custer then tried to gain access back into the apartment through a window. During the attack, a  jacket one of the occupants was wearing was cut by the spear. There were no injuries to the occupants and there appears to be no motive for the attack. 

Custer was arrested and booked at the Mendocino County Jail for violations of 459 PC, Burglary, 245(c) PC,  Assault with a Deadly Weapon on a Peace Officer and 664/187 PC, Attempted Murder. 

The alleged actions described in this press release could be the outgrowth of mental illness. Treatment can help. If you or are loved one are in need of crisis support, contact Mendocino County Behavioral Health’s Crisis Line at Crisis 1-855-838-0404.



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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFever
I like to think of myself as a journalist for the everyman. Journalism has become a craft practiced largely by the urban elite. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at if you know a story that needs to be told.

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