Appleton, WI – An Appleton police officer was ambushed and stabbed in the police department parking lot early on Tuesday morning.
The Appleton Police Department said in a post on their official Facebook page that the officer who was wounded had reported a vehicle following him for an extended distance at about 2:17 a.m. on March 31.
The officer advised dispatch and learned the same vehicle had been following officers in other jurisdictions, too.
He attempted to affect a traffic stop on the suspect vehicle but the driver fled.
The police department said the officer did not chase the vehicle because there were no serious charges.
The officer returned to the Appleton police station at about 4:15 a.m. and noticed the suspect vehicle was parked on the street outside the station parking lot, according to the Facebook post.
Then he saw a man standing by the employee entrance to the police department.
Appleton police said the officer tried to speak to the man but the suspect immediately charged at him, wielding a kitchen knife.
The suspect – later identified as 49-year-old Troy J. VanGrinsven – attacked the officer and stabbed him multiple times, WLUK reported.
“The subject had concealed his right hand behind his leg and appeared to be holding something in it,” Appleton Police Chief Todd Thomas said in the police statement. “The officer created distance between him and the individual, while trying to identify what the male was concealing. The male attacked the officer.”
Police officials said the officer fought back and took the violent suspect to the ground even as he continued to try and stab him.
Additional officers responded to help take VanGrinsven into custody and a second officer was cut in the process, according to the police department’s Facebook post.
“During the attack, the subject stabbed the officer several times with a kitchen-style knife. The officer fought back and brought the male on the ground,” Chief Thomas said. “Additional officers responded and were able to get the subject under control and into custody. One of the other officers involved also suffered a cut, from the subject’s knife, to one of their hands.”
Both wounded officers were transported to the hospital where they were treated and released, WLUK reported.
Appleton police said VanGrinsven was also taken to the hospital and would be transferred to the jail following his medical release.
“It is only because of the outstanding tactical skills, and the mental and physical fitness of the officer involved, that this incident didn’t end more tragically,” Chief Thomas said. “These are the threats that all our law enforcement officers are facing more frequently. No matter what uniform they wear, we thank all of them, and their family members, for the sacrifices they make every day to serve their communities.”
VanGrinsven was charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide and battery to a police officer, WLUK reported.
Appleton police said additional charges were expected as the investigation progressed.