A man wielding a machete and threatening people was arrested outside a restaurant in Watsonville on Wednesday evening, police said. Watsonville resident Rigoberto Rodriguez, 35, was arrested for assault with a machete, resisting arrest, battery on a peace officer and threatening with intent to terrorize, police said. At about 5 p.m., police were dispatched to the California Grill in the 1900 block of Freedom Boulevard on a report of a theft and fight, police said.
Officers were notified that the suspect was outside the restaurant threatening employees with gestures of slitting their throats, police said. According to the police investigation, Rodriguez was chasing a female who ran into the restaurant. Three female employees helped the female to safety. Two of the employees shielded the female from Rodriquez while they called 911, police said. Rodriquez pulled a machete from his backpack and held it over his head in a threatening manner, police said. A female employee stood in front of Rodriguez to keep him from the others, according to police.
By the time officers made contact with Rodriguez, the machete was in his backpack, police said. Rodriguez reached for the machete, but a police officer was able to grab the backpack and throw it out of the suspect’s reach. Rodriquez then threw a punch at the officer, but missed. A struggle ensued and a bystander assisted the officer in gaining control of the suspect. Rodriguez was handcuffed and while an officer was placing him inside the patrol car, he kicked at the officer but missed. He then kicked another officer in the torso. The officer was not injured, police said. Rodriquez was booked into the Santa Cruz County Jail.
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