Man in wheelchair injures Winter Haven officers with sword, police say

- Two Winter Haven police officers are recovering from stab wounds after a run-in with a man in a wheelchair, brandishing a sword.

Investigators say they got complaints from patrons at Central Tavern in downtown Winter Haven Thursday night about 29-year-old Emmanuel Ruiz Mejia.

When officers got there, they say Mejia was sitting on his hands as if he was hiding something.

When he refused to raise his hands and tried to roll past them in his wheelchair. officers deployed a stun gun. Winter Haven PD says that’s when Mejia pulled out a knife.

The officers tackled him and, during the scuffle, Officer Kristopher Coley’s face was slashed.

Mejia was hit again with a stun gun, but Mejia then slashed at the other officer, Edgardo Cruz, cutting his hand.

Mejia’s neighbors tell FOX 13 he became a different person before he lost his legs in a crash. Since then, he has become known for sitting outside his house in his wheelchair while whipping around a sword.

“He is a pretty strong fella,” said Winter Haven Police Chief Charlie Bird. “He’s got some stout upper body strength.”

Mejia was working on the back of a garbage truck in Bartow back in 2009 when a man who was texting while driving ran into the truck, ultimately resulting in the amputation of Mejia’s legs.  

Mejia is now charged with aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer and more.

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