Police searching for man who threatened officers while holding running chain saw

James Matteson (Police photo)

The West Greenwich Police Department is asking the public to help them find a man who they said threatened officers while holding a running chain saw.

Police said they are searching for 38-year-old James Matteson.

Authorities said they responded to a report of a disturbance at a home on Plain Meeting House Road Tuesday just before 7:30 p.m.

When they arrived at the scene, they were trying to arrest two men, including Thomas Matteson, who is the suspect's father.

At that time, police said Matteson came out of the garage with the chain saw and began threatening officers.

"Officers were able to hold Matteson at bay while struggling with one of the men," police said in a press release. "Matteson dropped the chain saw and fled into a wooded area near the home."

While they searched for Matteson, they were unable to find him.

But Matteson's father said police have blown the whole thing out of proportion.

"There was nobody chased by a chainsaw last night," he told NBC 10 News. "The kid was working in the garage with the chainsaw."

Yet, Chief Richard Ramsey shared a different story.

"He started yelling to leave his father alone, holding a shovel in the air, over his head," Ramsey said. "The officers told him to drop the shovel, ordered him to drop the shovel, when he dropped the shovel, he picked up a chainsaw, started the chainsaw, and started revving the chainsaw and yelling at the officers."

Still, Thomas hopes his son surrenders to authorities, adding that he's worried that his son has been out in the frigid cold for nearly 24 hours.

"I want my son to call me, be safe," he said. "It’s not what they said, I know, but you gotta turn yourself in. It’s just gotta be."

Police said Matteson has two outstanding warrants, including one for felony arson after he set a car on fire, and another for failure to appear in court on a suspended license. They said he is about 5 feet 9 inches tall. He has blue eyes and short brown hair.

Police asked anyone with information about Matteson to call them at 401-397-7191.

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