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Clay County deputy escapes knife attack with only a cut

Sheriff's Office: Deputy Adams trying to restrain 27-year-old when it happened

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CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – A Clay County deputy had a close call when he was attacked with a knife. 

It happened Wednesday evening when Deputy Jacob Adams attempted to restrain Nicholas Yacavone, 27, in Oakleaf Village, according to a Clay County Sheriff's Office report.

Investigators said Adams had just begun to handcuff one of Yacavone’s hands when they said he pulled a knife with his other hand and attempted to stab the deputy.  

Fortunately, the deputy’s training saved his life and allowed him to take Yacavone into custody. Adams managed to walk away from a knife attack with only a laceration to his finger.

“I’m glad I saw it when I did see it," he told News4Jax the next day.

Adams said it all started when he and another deputy were dispatched to a house in reference to Yacavone, a diagnosed schizophrenic. Before they arrived, according to Adams, they received call notes from 911 dispatch that put them on alert.

"The call notes stated that the father, who was the original complainant, stated to dispatchers that his son was acting crazy and was threatening to kill people and that he was possibly armed with a knife," Adams said.

When the deputies arrived, Derrick Yacavone, Yacavone's father, was waiting.

"I gave them the heads up he hasn’t been on his medication. He needs to get on his medication because he’s getting out of control," Yacavone's father said.

Adams said when he walked in the front door of the home, he saw Yacavone running out the back door. Thinking Yacavone was still possibly armed and dangerous to himself and others, the deputy said Yacavone led him on a chase through several backyards. The chase ended near a pond, where the deputy said Yacavone got down on the ground and surrendered.

“I was able to get one handcuff on his right hand and I was bringing his arms back behind him to detain him behind his back. At that point, he jumped up and we started to fight," Adams said.

It was during the tussle when the deputy said Yacavone pulled out a knife and tried to stab him in the chest. 

“I was able to grab both of his hands and control the knife," Adams said.

He said the knife was only inches from his chest. He said he managed to overpower Yacavone and get him into custody just as more deputies arrived. 

“The only reason why deadly force wasn’t used was because of the possibility of accidentally shooting someone that didn’t deserve to be shot," Adams said.

Yacavone’s parents are grateful deadly force was not used on their son, but said they wished the situation was handled differently because their son is mentally sick and doesn’t understand what he did. 

“They were trying to arrest him. They were just supposed to talk to him. Get him in the car. Take him to the hospital and have him Baker Acted," said Sandra Yacavone, Vacavone's mother. "We needed him Baker Acted. We made that very clear. Three days in the hospital. Get him on his meds. Get him straightened out. Instead, they chased him down like he was some kind of suspect who committed a crime and they were trying to arrest him."

The Sheriff's Office said the only reason why it treated Yakavon as a suspect was because it received a call about a man who was possibly armed, threatening to kill.

Yacavone is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest. He was booked into the Clay County jail, where he's being held without bond until he goes before a judge for a bond hearing.  

According to Yacavone's parents, Wednesday night was not the first time deputies had been called to have Vacavone Baker Acted. 

“Sometimes, they say, 'We’ll come back,' or 'Call us if he comes back.' He usually disappears for two or three days, so by the time he comes back, he’s calmed down and things aren’t as dangerous," Yacavone's father said.

When they first start out, all Clay County deputies are required to undergo 40 hours of training to learn how to deal with people with mental conditions such as schizophrenia. Then, every year, they’re required to complete eight hours of remedial training.

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