A Utica man is facing several charges after an incident involving a knife at an elementary school.

Police say officers were called to Columbus Elementary School Wednesday afternoon for reports of an angry man who was armed with a knife. Officials say the man had an encounter with the district and police earlier in the day.

Officers say the man was attempting to enter the building while swiping the knife against the glass and threatening individuals inside. Due to the threatening nature of the man and the fact that he had a knife, police say the school initiated Lockdown protocols and called 911.

Officials say several officers, including Utica Police Chief Mark Williams, attempted to speak to and reason with the man, but he continued to be non-compliant and refused to remove his hands from his pockets. Officers say they realized he was a threat and had to confront him physically.

During the confrontation, the man was aggressively resisting arrest and a struggle ensued. Eventually officers were able to take control of the situation. When officers were able to detain the man, a silver-colored knife was discovered in the man's possession, according to officials. Police say during the struggle several officers suffered minor injuries.

Police say 33-year-old Zax Ei of Utica was arrested and charged with the following:

  • Criminal Mischief 4th
  • Menacing 2nd
  • Criminal Possession of Weapon 4th
  • Obstructing Governmental Administration
  • Resisting Arrest
  • Petit Larceny

Police want to assure the community that all children had been dismissed for the day when the incident took place and no children were in any danger at any time. Police say the Principal of Columbus Elementary School acted bravely in an effort to ensure the safety of her staff.

The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are possible.

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