ONLY ON ABC7.COM: Dramatic confrontation between Menlo Park police and homeless man caught on SKY7

MENLO PARK, Calif. (KGO) -- Menlo Park police had their guns drawn on a homeless man during a dramatic confrontation caught by our SKY7 cameras Wednesday.

Police Chief Dave Bertini says he's proud of his officers for handling the situation with no use of deadly force.

According to the chief, the incident comes on the heels of a meeting he just had with his staff about using de-escalation techniques. He credits that training for the peaceful end to an intense confrontation with officers at a homeless encampment at around noon.

"As a team of police officers was approaching one of the Lean-to, a subject approached them with a stick in his hands, a very large piece of lumber and started to threaten the officers and leave the area," said Bertini.

Police have identified the man as 33-year-old Zeferino Suniga Diaz. Our SKY7 was overhead as he faced off with at least four police officers.

In a few dramatic seconds, Diaz appears to lunge on the officer holding the rifle who then drops his gun and tackles the man to the ground.

This happened at a marsh next to the Bayfront near Willow Road. Police were in the area looking for another suspect who was allegedly threatening CalTrans workers with a knife and machete.

"One of our other officers deployed a taser device, which was not effective in this case because they were on the ground basically fighting," said Bertini.

Diaz was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon on an officer. He was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

The officer who was struck with a branch was treated on scene for minor scratches to his face. The chief said he's proud that the officer, who had every reason to use deadly force, chose to de-escalate instead.

"We really are making de-escalation a priority and kudos to that officer and all my officers. It speaks to the training and the heart my officers have for society," said the Bertini.

The suspect who allegedly threatened CalTrans workers is still at large. He's described as Hispanic man, 35-40 years old, 5 feet and 9 inches tall, and wearing a shirt with the word STAFF on the back.They're appealing to the public for any information that can help with the investigation.

Call Menlo Park Police at 650-330-6300 or the Anonymous Tip Hotline at 650-330-6395.
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