A 33-year-old man who tried cutting off his arm inside a busy Denny's restaurant because he believed it would save his life was arrested Friday night, according to Modesto police.
According to Sgt. Brian Findlen, Michael Lasiter, 33, of Modesto had been injecting cocaine in a nearby motel when he thought he had injected air into his veins, which can lead to death.
Findlen said the man believed that if he cut off his arm, he could save himself from dying.
Lasiter entered the restaurant at 1525 McHenry Ave. about 10:15 p.m. and grabbed a butter knife off a customer's table and began stabbing himself in the right arm near the biceps. When that didn't work, he ran into the kitchen and got a butcher knife and started "digging the knife into his arm," Findlen said.
Police arrived almost immediately and isolated the man. A few minutes later, they used a taser to subdue him.
"He wouldn't obey a substantial number of commands and continued to stab himself," Findlen said. "There were some tense moments, but a lot of patrons didn't know what was going on."
Lasiter was arrested and taken to a Modesto hospital to treat severe cuts to his arm.
Findlen has been in law enforcement for 11 years, and said he had "never seen anything like that before."
He said the restaurant closed for the evening to clean up.