Police: Stabbing suspect attacks officers with sledgehammer


New York – The Rochester Police Department has had a particularly rough — and violent — last couple of months.

Earlier this week, a 41-year old man was tased and arrested after throwing a sledgehammer at police and causing considerable damage to a patrol car.

Police responded to a call regarding a 25-year old female who had been stabbed in the lower body and beaten as well.  The domestic violence suspect was identified and later located driving, so officers attempted a stop on the vehicle.


The suspect put his car in reverse and hit a marked patrol car.  He led police on a short chase, tossing things out of the window as he drove.

He pulled into a gas station, where he hit two other cars and then intentionally rammed another marked police car.

Officers approached the vehicle and attempted to take the man into custody.  He allegedly refused to exit his vehicle, and threw a sledgehammer at one of the officers.  He started swinging a metal pole inside the car before stepping out.

Once out of the vehicle, he took the pole and proceeded to repeatedly strike another patrol car, which was reported to have caused “heavy damage.”


The man refused to drop the pole or comply with officers’ orders, so he was tased and hit with a bean bag round.  At this point, the officers were able to take him into custody.  While being transported to the hospital, he became combative inside the ambulance and had to be restrained.

Captain Naser Zenelovic said following this incident, “The officers showed incredible restraint.  Thank God the bean bag round and the less lethal options were effective, or else it could have ended worse. The officers did a great job.”

No officers were injured during this incident.

Another recent incident in Rochester came last weekend, when Officer Brian Cala, a 22-year veteran of the department, was stabbed in the face.

Officers Cala and Louis Mastrangelo responded to two separate calls for the same location Sunday around 11am.  The first call was for criminal mischief, where a man was breaking out windows and smashing taillights of vehicles.  The second was regarding a man having “mental disturbances.”

The two officers arrived and were immediately attacked by 20-year old Jamal Dima, who walked out of the house and “made a beeline” towards officers with a knife.  The knife’s blade was reportedly five inches long. 

After being stabbed in the face, Officer Cala took out his gun and fired five times, reports say.  He was able to hit Dima once in the left wrist, but Dima was still able to flee the scene.  After about a half-mile foot pursuit, Dima was taken into custody.

It’s been reported that from the time Dima walked out of the house to the time he ran from police after stabbing and being shot by Officer Cala, only a matter of a few seconds had passed.

Following this incident, Deputy Chief of Community Affairs Mark Mura said, “This is a very dangerous job.  Our guys go out, and they risk their lives every single day when they leave their house in the morning, and they don’t know that they’re going to make it home.”


“This could be considered a normal call that you would go to any given day,” he continued.  “The fact that somebody decided to attack an officer is disturbing.  It should be disturbing to everybody.”

Officer Cala was treated at the local hospital and released Sunday night.


Rochester Mayor, Lovely Warren, issued a statement after the incident:

“Our police officers put themselves at risk every time they put on their uniform. Sadly, today, one of Rochester’s finest was injured while protecting our city. While I am heartened to hear that the injured officer will be released from the hospital and heading home soon, I ask all of our residents to pray for him and his family. I am thankful that no one was more seriously injured in this incident and wish our officer a quick and full recovery.”

Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary said he’s tired of his officers being attacked.  During a press conference Monday, he said, “A line of duty injury, to me, is a police officer getting into a car accident, a police officer spraining his ankle.  This was an attack.

“When you have an officer injured in the line of duty, it should be something the community takes seriously, because if someone was willing to injure an officer, who knows what they’re willing to do to a citizen.

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“It’s becoming utterly ridiculous,” he continued.  “My main responsibility as a chief is to make sure that the men and women who serve come home safely at the end of their shift.”

Chief Singletary also said, “I think it’s to the credit to the training that they receive – I think it’s second to none – that Officer Cala did not suffer more severe injuries than what he did.”

This was the second stabbing of an officer in four months.  To this, the Chief said, “Hopefully, we don’t continue to see these assaults on officers, but it’s becoming utterly ridiculous at this point.  I think it points to some of the narrative you see across the country.”

Last October, another officer was stabbed, also in the face.  Officer Denny Wright’s injuries were, unfortunately, more severe from this incident and he spent three weeks in the local hospital.


Officer Wright responded to a call for “family trouble” just before noon on October 4.  28-year old Keith Williams punched the officer in the face, and stabbed him in the face, left eye, and lower body, using a knife with an eight inch blade.

Officer Wright reportedly fired one round at Williams but did not hit him.  It’s also been reported that Williams was tased “one or two times.”

Civilian bystanders are said to have intervened.  Following that incident, Mayor Warren issued a statement, saying, “Today’s news reminds us of the bravery and dedication of the men and women of our Rochester Police Department.  I ask all those of faith to pray for the Officer’s recovery and well-being. The residents who intervened deserve our gratitude and their actions speak to the true spirit of our city.”


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