Lander police arrested an escaped sexual predator Tuesday evening, but not without a knife fight.
Joshua Eaker, 47, of Phillips, Wisconsin, reportedly cut off his GPS-monitoring ankle bracelet and fled to Wyoming days ago with a female companion. Eaker was released to parole on Dec. 14, following a prison term of about 20 years. He was sentenced in the late 1990s for second-degree sexual assault of a child, according to Wisconsin corrections records.
“I guess he didn’t want to stick around anymore, and cut off the ankle bracelet and away he went,” said Lander Police Department spokesman Duane Kaiser.
The Lander Police Department received a tip from authorities in Wisconsin, but Kaiser wasn’t sure how those authorities discovered that Eaker might be in Lander.
According to Kaiser, police officers went to a local hotel room where Eaker was staying at about 6 p.m Tuesday and confronted him. Eaker pulled out a large knife and swung it toward three officers in the hotel room. When Eaker kept swinging the knife and ignored officers’ commands to stop, they tased him.
Kaiser was relieved that the situation did not turn deadly, especially in light of a recent slew of officer-involved shootings in Fremont County: There have been five officer-involved shootings in the county in the past three years, but the Lander Police Department hasn’t had one during that time.
“It was real close (to deadly) that night. It was very close to it turning south, quick,” said Kaiser. “But the officers (with) their tasing – they did an awesome job.”
The female who was with Eaker was not taken into custody, Kaiser said. Eaker is at the Fremont County Detention Center waiting for his extradition to Wisconsin, where, the release says, “he will face numerous new charges.”
Kaiser said he’s not sure what Eaker’s destination was while he was on the run.
“I don’t think he really knew, himself,” he said.
The Wisconsin Department of Corrections did not immediately return an email and phone call requesting additional information.