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In Harm's Way

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Published on: Jul. 2, 1999

Last revision: Nov. 3, 2010

agent, Jim Hart, who I'd just left, and I asked for a deputy backup."

The man came back waving a piece of paper, so Tiller asked him to sit in the car while he checked it. At that moment, the agent's truck radio came on with information about outstanding arrest warrants for the subject.

Tiller said he had planned to play dumb until some help arrived, but the radio report made that impossible. "I told him I had to take him into custody and told him to turn around and put his hands behind his back." The man took off running, instead. Tiller ran after him.

"He missed the entrance to the trail to the creek and went flying over the riprap and stumbled and fell," Tiller said. The agent caught up with him then, and the pair wrestled around the rocky bank as Tiller attempted to handcuff him.

"He was swinging and I was blocking." Tiller said. "It was pretty much slap-face because we were too close to one another to really get any serious punches thrown."

Tiller said the man, who had no shirt on, was hot and sweaty and too slippery to grab. During the struggle, the man lowered his head and rammed into Tiller. The agent broke off the struggle when he felt the subject trying to remove his gun from his holster.

The man ran again. Tiller removed his mace and collapsible baton from his belt and started after him again. "When I was chasing him, he kept looking back, and I guessed that he was trying to time a punch. When he turned and swung, I ducked and he fell over," Tiller said.

The man regained his feet and took a boxing stance, challenging the agent to a fight. Tiller raised his baton with one hand as if to strike the man but, instead, loosed a spray of Mace toward the man's face.

"I put the mark of Zorro right across his nose and mouth. You could tell he'd been Maced before by the way he reacted. He just stiffened and clenched his fist.

By that time, Jim Hart arrived. After a violent struggle, the two agents managed to cuff the man. He was wanted on a felony warrant in Kansas and three misdemeanor warrants in Missouri and is currently in the penitentiary in Kansas.

Tiller credits both his training and a decade of working in the field with many types of people with

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