At approximately 1:40 p.m. on Sunday, Missoula Police Officers responded to the Johnson Street Warming Shelter, located at 1919 North Ave West. The 911 complainants were dealing with a male who was trying to fight with them. They said he was armed with a knife, and had tried to stab a paramedic with it. Police Public Information Officer Travis Welsh explains.

“When the officers arrived, they made contact with the suspect outside of the residence and he was taken into custody,” Welsh said. “They spoke with the complainants who informed them that they had administered Narcan to the individual because he was believed to have overdosed on an opioid. When he regained consciousness, he became very aggressive and angry and began threatening the EMS workers.”

The suspect was identified as Zechariah Vallejo. The victim, a paramedic for MESI, explained that he had previously removed a jacket and a box cutter from Vallejo, but somehow in the confusion, Vallejo was able to get his jacket back on, and the victim thought Vallejo regained possession of the boxcutter as well.

“At one point, they said they he jumped up and reached into his coat,” Welsh said. “They felt that is where his knife was located. They had a previous knowledge of the knife because they had taken his coat off when they were attempting to revive him and had observed it. When he put his coat back on again, he was back in possession of the knife. They reported that he ran at them yelling that he was going to kill them and had his hand in his pocket where they felt he was retrieving the knife.”

The victim and the other paramedics turned and ran away from Vallejo. They were afraid that if they didn’t run, Vallejo would attack with the boxcutter.

An officer eventually took Vallejo into custody and placed him in handcuffs. The officer immediately noticed a gray box cutter sitting on the end of the picnic table, a few inches from where the suspect’s right hand had been.

Vallejo acknowledged that he carries weapons on his person at all times. He said he does so for protection as he lives a transient lifestyle. He admitted to possessing a box-cutter type instrument on the day in question.

Vallejo was charged with one count of felony assault with a weapon.

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