Pauls Valley's top cop appears to be healing up OK after a potentially deadly situation came out of nowhere during an arrest considered at first routine.
Police Chief Mitch McGill sits back in his office Monday describing how he got the bruises and cuts, including one on his neck needing three stitches.
The chief and others were right in the middle of an effort to take Paul Zeller, 41, into custody on warrants issued for his arrest late last week.
Zeller would eventually be arrested but not before he pulled out a knife with an eight-inch blade and nearly used it to give McGill far worse injuries.
The incident on Friday had McGill and PV's assistant police chief, Derrick Jolley, along with a county deputy, started with a tip on Zeller leading them to a house in the 400 block of West Garvin.
All thought it was routine since they already knew Zeller.
"We all know Paul because he used with work as a city employee," Jolley said Monday afternoon.
"We figured we'd scoop him and be on down the road."
McGill says when they first arrived at the house they announced to those inside it was the police.
The officers reported they could see through a small window in the door that Zeller was trying to hide. They also saw him go into the kitchen area and grab a knife.
During the next hour McGill and others negotiated with Zeller trying to convince him to put the knife down and surrender. At first it didn't go so well.
"He said he would have to kill me before he goes back to jail," McGill said.
At one point they saw Zeller place the knife on a kitchen counter. When he agreed to open the door in exchange for a cigarette, they decided to end the siege and get the suspect under control since he was unarmed.
It turns out Zeller was armed as he was concealing a second knife, according to both McGill and Jolley.
"We hit the door hard, pushed through the door and I'm able to grab him," McGill said.
"Paul reached the small of his back and grabs a knife. That's when a deputy with us tased us both. We both went straight down into a glass table. They took a big shard of glass out of my neck.
"In the end the bad guy went to jail and I went to get stiched up.
"Luckily it all worked. It was a joint effort and we were able to take this guy into custody with no major injuries," he said, referring to the sheriff's office and two state troopers there to assist.
Both officers stress the decision to go in was made because they thought Zeller was unarmed after he had put down the kitchen knife.
"We probably would have handled it different if we'd known he was armed. We had every belief that had disarmed himself," Jolley said.
"We thought it would be no big problem. We felt it would be routine, hook up and take him to jail. We never had any problem with him in the past. I don't think we had ever had a violent confrontation with him."
In the end Jolley says the deputy's taser likely saved lives during the incident.
"He's drawing that knife up and he's frozen when he's hit with that taser," Jolley said about Zeller. "The blade was up. All he had to do was bring it down. He was still frozen like with his arm up that when he was taken into custody.
"It was the perfect scenario for a taser. It did exactly what it was supposed to do.
"It did save a life, I guarantee it. It saved Paul's life and maybe it saved Mitch and maybe even me."
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