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Sorrell

Woody Never Threatened Others

That Woody never threatned others is agreed on unanimoulsy by the eyewitnesses. This fact is misrepresented in Sorrell's report. Here is what the eyewitnesses said.

Eyewitnesses

Adelbert
source:12/2 handwritten statement
He never threatened anyone but himself with the knife.
source:12/2 interview, p.3
He wasn't expressing his paranoia against anyone in the room.
.
Heidi
source:12/3 interview, p.3
I mean, I was a little concerned about it, but he didn't look like a kid that would ever hurt a fly, you know.
source:12/3 interview, p.6
He didn't act like he was going to hurt anybody, other than himself. He didn't say, well I'm going to kill you" He wasn't a person who had that in him. He didn't look like it, but you don't know that.
[Do you think] he could have turned on other people?
I don't think he could.
Why do you say that?
Because paranoids don't do that. (elaborates on her understanding of paranoid schizophrenia)
.
Janis
source:12/2 interview, p.7
Did he ever threaten anybody directly?
Not any of us. Not any of us. I think our biggest concern was him hurting himself. The whole time he was there ... you know, 99% of the time the knife was pointing at himself and his things were ... his threats were "I'll kill myself, I'll kill myself ... Don't leave, I'll kill myself."
I think everyone was not so concerned that he was going to hurt them but he was going to hurt himself.
source:12/2 interview, p.2
The children were quickly taken out of the room during this time and that didn't seem to bother him, but it was very important that the adults stay there.
.
Mary H
He never once said that he was going to hurt anybody else, he said "I'm going to kill myself." I do know that he never once was going to do anything to anybody else.
.
Norman
source:12/2 interview, p.1
There was no threatening done. I mean, he did not threaten anybody except himself. ... None of us felt physically threatened, anyway. It's just that our service was being interrupted.
source:12/2 interview, p.6
I don't see any reason why anybody would have been feeling unsafe, particularly. This was someone who was dominating the conversation. Nobody could persuade him to keep quiet and stop and he was trying to impress us all that his life was in great danger. And he was asking the church for sanctuary. But at no point did he make any threatening gestures or threatening statements or anything of that kind. He was asking us for help. That was his sole message. He was asking us for help.
source:letter, 12/20
I did not see him at any time point it in any other direction, nor did he make any sort of threatening remarks or gestures."
.
Michael
source:12/2 interview, p.15
Did you ever see him point the knife at the officers?
No.
Did you ever see him point the knife at you, or at any
member of the congregation?
No
Did he ever make any comments like he was going to kill the
police?
No, his, ah, his comments were essentially that he was going to be killed. That they were going to kill him.
What, what do you mean by that? What did he say?
I don't ever recall him saying anything to the effect that I'm going to kill you or I'm going to kill them, but rather his verbalization were all self-directed. I'm going to kill myself, and um, ah they're going to kill me.
.
Clifton
source:12/3 interview
(asked if Woodward could have done a 180 and threatened somebody else) Oh yeah. He could. Certainly he could. I thought that would probably could be ... certainly could do that.
Were you ever in fear for your safety?
No.
.
Bob
He was trying to convince us that he would be no threat to us. I vow to be no threat ah ... to anyone in this building, Ah ... on ... well something along the lines unless you betray me and call the police in or something you know.
.
Sherry
source:12/2 interview
I didn't feel that anybody was really scared, I mean, they were nervous, or apprehensive, but not scared of their physical well being at that point. People weren't panicking, people didn't seem, you know, upset or really scared at this point.
Do you remember him threatening anybody in the congregation?
no, no. It was amazing the way people were listening to him. They didn't get up and leave. They were engaged in it. Not that people really felt that they were going to get hurt at this point, but I do experience, you know I felt I emotionally from other people and then other people shared it with me afterwords.
A lot of people took the opportunity to leave when they could.
Someone from the congregation said "please put the knife away, you're scaring us." I mean he was very polite, you know, and he actually did.
He was never going to hurt other people, but people were traumatized by the emotional effect of it all, you know, it was kind of a terrorist action way, but he wasn't going to kill them. He was going to hurt himself, which was not pleasant to be around.
.
Donna
source:12/3 interview, p.2
He relaxed just a bit in that he was kind of getting what he needed.
source:12/3 interview, p.3
He didn't do anything violent.
source:12/3 interview, p.8
It wasn't like that, there wasn't a lot of panic. There was more distress, you know, Confusion
.
Tommy
source:12/2 written statement
I can't remember if Mr. Woodward then made more threatening gestures that he was going to commit suicide. He certainly wasn't threatening the policemen in any way and then the policeman shot.
source:12/2 interview
When I first approached him, he actually backed away.
Did he approach the officers when he first encountered them?
No, I would not say that he threatened them. He was always threatening himself, threatening to harm himself.
... when he fell forward did you see Mr. Woodward make any
kind of gesture or threatening motion?
He wasn't coming at them with the knife like this. The knife was always pointed toward himself.
source:12/2 interview, p.6
And he always had the knife pointed toward himself?
Pointed toward himself.
.
Mary T
I was not afraid for myself but for him.
I never at any point felt any danger for my own life.
I never, ever felt threatened myself ... Not to say he wouldn't have done something if someone's in that kind of state, But I didn't feel threatened, and all his messages were very benign, and I just felt he needed help and I was thunderstruck that they shot at him. You'd think three people could, you know, tackle him or something.
.
Robert
Did he brandish any weapons by any means?
No, not at all. We never had a feeling ... he just seemed crazy, that's all.
Was there any threats that he made?
No, not to any of us.
I would say 3/4 of the time it was without the knife. He only did that at a point where he felt threatened himself by our not doing what he wanted us to do, or something.
Did he ever reach in like he was going to get another weapon?
No.
.
Charles
Many left quietly and he did not react until one of our members shouted for everyone to leave, at which time he took a knife from his pocket and threatened to kill himself if people left
.
Polly
He never threatened anyone but himself. He said they are going to torture me, but he never threatened anyone. That I'm sure of.
I didn't think he was going to ... I thought he might harm himself, but I did not feel he was threatening .. he did not threaten anybody in the congregation.
.
Phyllis
He never threatened anyone else, I never felt in any danger. It never occurred to me that he might have other weapons. He did not (make threats to other persons) He just said that he needed refuge, or asylum, or something.
source:3/25 synopsis
Was surprised to later find that some in the church were very frightened and hysterical.
.
Jane
source:12/2 interview
They actually stood up and they said some of us are going to leave now because you are scaring us, and with that he took a knife out of his right front pants pocket and he pointed it to his right eye, and said "Don't do that, please don't do that. Otherwise I'm going to kill myself."
He never threatened to kill us. But he said he would kill himself.
I spoke to him and he looked at me and I was actually beginning to feel hopeful that he might be possible de-escalated.
I felt that if we could just sit and listen that we were safe, you know. I ... beyond that I didn't know if we were going to be safe, but I felt that as long as we were sitting and listening, he did not seem like he was going to hurt us.
source:12/2 interview, p.7
He made no threats to theoficers. He made no threats to anyone else.
Even before the police arrived and people started leaving the sanctuary, he said something like, you know, "No, I don't want to hurt you. I'm not going to hurt you." And actually, that seemed believable.
But he was definitely psychotic, and I'm not sure that I would have trusted his judgment as far as knowing what point he might do something different because of desperation.
I just said "This is an act of aggression you're really scaring people" and he apologized and said "OK, I'm putting away the knife." And he did that.
.

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