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Police in Springdale said a 26-year-old man wanted to be killed by officers when he was wielding a knife inside a Target store earlier this month.

WLWT obtained exclusive video from inside the store as police officers worked through difficult and emotional moments to talk Landen Whitehead down to safety.

The video showed police arriving at an eerily empty and evacuated store, where they made their way back to the area where Whitehead was sitting.

They said they realized he needed their help, but there were still nerves on edge until the very end.

The primary police response happened at the store on East Kemper Road on Sept. 4.

Investigators said Whitehead flashed a steak knife at an employee which led managers to evacuate the store and call Springdale police who found Whitehead in the corner.

Officers can be heard on body camera video obtained by WLWT.

Officer: “He’s still armed. Walking our way.”

Officer: “Do not do it. Put the knife down.”

Officer: “Don’t do it. Just put it down. It’s not worth what you’re doing. Trust me it’s not worth it.”

Officer: “You can try from here. You’re going to get tased or worse. Don’t do it. “

Officer: “You’re going to get tased.”

Officers: “Drop the knife. Drop the knife. Drop the knife.”

Officers stunned Whitehead twice with Taser to little effect.

An officer negotiating with him continued to do so calmly, as seen in the video we obtained.

Officer: “Let’s put the knife down. Let’s put the gas can down. All right? We’ll get you out of here.”

Springdale police said Whitehead was on his last string and wanted suicide by cop, which meant there was an even greater need for compassion and understanding.

Officer: “No matter what you’re going through, we can get you through this. All right? We do not want to do this to you. Put the knife down and we’ll get through this. We’ll get you help if you need help. All right? There’s no problems worth this. Do you hear me? Are you OK? What’s wrong with you? We’re not going to to do this to you, man. We’re not going to shoot you. All right? So if that’s what you’re looking for, it’s not going to happen.”

The negotiating officer talked Whitehead into dropping the gas can.

Minutes later, SWAT team members arrived on the scene with guns drawn.

After already more than an hour of negotiating, Whitehead dropped the knife and was taken into custody.

At the end of one of the videos we obtained, the negotiating officer appeared to take a minute to get on his knees and say some prayers, thankful no one was hurt.

Whitehead is still listed in the Hamilton County Jail and was indicted last week on aggravated menacing and inducing panic charges.

Springdale police plan to recommend getting Whitehead help throughout the court process.

Online court records show Whitehead is set to be back in court on Friday.


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