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Dramatic video captures takedown of Toronto machete attack suspect

Last Updated Dec 24, 2015 at 1:56 pm EDT

Dramatic video captured at the scene of an unprovoked machete attack in downtown Toronto shows how security guards worked to take down the suspect.

Footage shows security guards tackling a man and pinning him to the ground where he remained until police arrived a few minutes later.

Police were called to the scene near Bay and Dundas streets, near the Eaton Centre, at around 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday. When they arrived, security guards at the Atrium on Bay were holding the suspect down.

“I just wanted to stop what he was doing,” Nate McNeil, one of two security guards involved in the takedown, told a news conference Thursday afternoon.

McNeil works for Paragon Security, which released video of the attack and subsequent takedown by McNeil and his colleague, Phillip Bonaparte.

The video shows a man, wielding what witnesses described as a large machete, repeatedly swinging the weapon at a man who fell to the ground and tried to protect himself with a bag.

Police said the attack, which they described as unprovoked, left the 30-year-old victim with serious, but non-life threatening injuries to his head and legs.

The video shows the machete-wielding man turn and swipe at another pedestrian before briefly chasing after the victim, and then moving in front of a set of doors, yelling the entire time.

McNeil and Bonaparte said they got the call on their radios about the attack and ran through the foyer of the building and ended up on the other side of a set of doors from where the suspect stood.

“Once I went through the second set of doors to the exterior area, he was still doing what he was doing with the machete,” McNeil said.

He said he then “neutralized” the attacker’s hand and took him down.

The video shows the big, burly security guard – McNeil is six-foot-four, 270 pounds – bursting through the doors without hesitation, grabbing the man’s right arm and tackling him to the ground.

McNeil said that he made the plan “in that split second” when he saw the machete in the man’s hand.

After the takedown, Bonaparte – at five-foot-five, 140 pounds – rushed over, kicked away a knife the attacker had dropped and pried the machete away from the man before wrapping the man’s wrists with restraints.

Police said they recovered a machete and a large hunting knife. The hunting knife was not used in the attack.

Arlington Thompson, 35, of Queens, N.Y., is charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, assault with a weapon and possession of a weapon.

He appeared in court on Thursday and was remanded into custody, with a hearing set for Dec. 30.

Arlington Thompson, 35, charged in a machete attack in downtown Toronto appears in court on Dec. 24, 2015. CITYNEWS/Marianne Boucher.
Arlington Thompson, 35, charged in a machete attack in downtown Toronto appears in court on Dec. 24, 2015. CITYNEWS/Marianne Boucher.


Toronto Police Sgt. Dale Corra offered praise for the teamwork that kept the situation from turning deadly.

Mike Soberel, manager of security at Atrium on Bay, said his guards showed great courage.

“My security officers reacted and were able to apprehend the suspect and bring him to the ground, and held him until police arrived. You couldn’t ask anything more of them,” he said.

Ted Salter from Paragon Security said he is proud of guards. He said normally, guards would wait for police, but that in this case they needed to act because the threat was imminent.

Police believe there are more victims from the attack, as well as witnesses, and are asking them to contact investigators.