Cop Reaches for Knife in Fight for His Life

UPDATE: KnifeNews has confirmed that West Virginia State Troopers are issued Timberline Every Day Workhorse Folders with a Combo Edge
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West Virginia State Police are crediting Trooper J.J. Cornelius’ use of a knife in a dramatic incident that nearly cost him his life on Wednesday.

Following the chase of an Indiana fugitive wanted for burglary, Trooper Cornelius squared off with the suspect in the Mill Creek stream. According to State Police, during the altercation Trooper Cornelius had fallen in the water, hit his head on the bottom of the creek, and couldn’t reach his primary weapon. “During the struggle, Trooper Cornelius realizes he can’t reach his handgun because it’s pinned on the creek bottom and he just can’t get to it,” Lieutenant Michael Baylous with the West Virginia State Police told MetroNews, a local radio station.

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To make matters worse, the suspect was on top of Trooper Cornelius trying to choke and drown him. That’s when Cornelius was able to reach his secondary weapon – his knife. “Trooper Cornelius was able to reach his knife, which he used to stop Mr. Wegman’s violent assault,” Lieutenant Baylous said.

“[State Troopers] keep their knives in a specially designed pocket in their shoulder area. The knife was a tactical folder with a 4 inch blade,” Joseph Austin told us. Following the altercation, Austin who lives nearby, jumped into the stream to rescue Trooper Cornelius who was face down and caught in a strong current.

According to State Police, the suspect fled the scene after he sustained significant injuries to his torso and chin. The 27-year old suspect and a female accomplice were later captured and both face charges for the attempted murder of Trooper Cornelius. The suspect had to be air lifted to hospital where he is recovering from his wounds.

“We train our Troopers to always be on alert and with the mentality to not give up in a situation. That’s exactly what happened here. He had that warrior mentality to survive,” Lieutenant Baylous said. “He’s doing rather well, all things considered. We’re very, very fortunate that today we’re not planning a funeral.”

In a November incident that contrasts Wednesday’s events, several Columbus Georgia Police Officers were caught blade-less in graphic body cam videos. The Officers involved were colleagues of Austin McGlaun featured in the first of our Knife Cops series. McGlaun says Wednesday’s incident underlines the importance of Police Departments providing officers with knives and the organizational systems to support them: “They should issue knives, have use of force policies in place, and provide training in the use of their issued knife.”