(DETROIT FREE PRESS) - An Eastpointe man suspected of shoplifting from a Roseville store stabbed a loss prevention officer with a contaminated syringe and didn't stop slashing with the needle until a customer pulled out a handgun and ordered the man to drop the syringe, Roseville police said today.
Joshua J. Silva, 26, was arrested a short time after the incident Monday night at the Home Depot at 13 Mile and Little Mack.
He was ordered held in the Macomb County Jail on $25,000 bond after being arraigned today on second-degree retail fraud, a one-year misdemeanor, and assault with intent to do great bodily harm, a 10-year felony.
He stood mute in court, where a not guilty plea was entered on his behalf. He is to be appointed an attorney, Police Chief James Berlin said. Silva's preliminary exam is set for April 2 in 39th District Court in Roseville.
Berlin said that Silva claimed he is addicted to heroin, but it is not believed he was on the drug at the time of the assault.
Berlin said that loss prevention officers tried to apprehend Silva for stuffing a $179 battery-powered drill under his coat when he began to fight with them to avoid arrest.
During the fight in the parking lot, Silva pulled a concealed syringe from his jacket and used it as a weapon, swinging it around in a slashing motion, police said.
They said he was able to stab one of the officers several times with the contaminated needle. Berlin said the victim had more than five puncture wounds on the top of his hand.
A customer with a concealed pistol license saw the incident, pulled out his handgun and told the suspect to drop the syringe and get on the ground.
Silva stopped fighting and sat down in the parking lot, police said. When he heard approaching police sirens, he jumped up and ran. The loss prevention officers allowed him to run and police officers arrested him without further incident.
The citizen, who told police he wished to remain anonymous, told police that he got involved because the suspect was so violent and appeared to "be getting the best of" the loss prevention officers. He said he feared if he didn't get involved, the suspect was going to kill one of the store officers, police said.
The wounded loss prevention officer was treated at a local hospital. Neither he nor the good Samaritan was interested in a media interview, Berlin said.
He said the syringe had some residue in it. It is to be tested later today by the Michigan State Police crime lab for any signs of communicable disease.
Police also will be seeking a search warrant to have the suspect tested for any infectious disease that could have been transmitted to the loss prevention officer.
Berlin said Silva had a prior retail fraud conviction and drug arrests. He said it happens that people try to use syringes as weapons, but it is not a common occurrence.
Berlin said the good Samaritan will be put in for a citizen's citation.