Off-duty Prospect cop subdues man on train

PROSPECT — An off-duty Prospect police officer heading into New York City Friday afternoon stopped a man with a knife from harming himself and possibly hurting others.

Officer Anthony Cipriano was riding a Metro-North train into New York City at about 4:30 p.m. when passengers began coming through the train car he was in yelling about a man with a knife.

Cipriano, 44, headed against the flow of people and toward the commotion. When he entered the next train car, Cipriano saw William Willis, 34, of Stamford, holding a knife and cutting himself.

“I drew my weapon and told him to drop the knife. He told me I was a werewolf,” Cipriano said.

Cipriano said Willis then took a step toward him still holding the knife. Cipriano ordered Willis to drop the knife and get on the floor a second time, and he complied.

Shortly after he subdued Willis, off-duty officers from New Haven came to the car and helped pin him down, Cipriano said.

The train stopped in Norwalk, where Willis was taken into custody. The investigation was handled by the Metro Transit Authority Police Department.

MTA police media liaison Meredith Daniels said Willis had “ingested crystal meth and suffered side effects of the narcotics.” He was charged with reckless endangerment, threatening, unlawful possession of controlled substance and breach of peace.

Cipriano started working as a part-time police officer in Prospect earlier this year. Prior to joining the department, he worked for 21 years as a state trooper, including serving as the resident state trooper in Beacon Falls for five years.

“I was very pleased he was at the right place at the right time and prevented what could have been a terrible tragedy,” Prospect Mayor Robert Chatfield said.

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