Virgin Mary vandal threatens SLO officer with a knife
May 20, 2016
A transient who once tried to burn down a statue of the Virgin Mary at the San Luis Obispo Mission threatened a police officer with a knife Wednesday evening. The confrontation followed another alleged act of vandalism.
Around 8 p.m., San Luis Obispo police officers responded to reports that a vandal was violently attacking a brick planter box on the 2700 block of McMillan Avenue.
With help from a witness, officers identified the suspect as local transient Daniel Pettigrew, 29.
At around 9 p.m., an officer saw Pettigrew walking on a dead-end street near the railroad tracks by McMillan Avenue. The officer then identified himself as law enforcement.
“Back off I have a knife, ” Pettigrew told the officer.
Pettigrew then raised his knife in close proximity to the officer, according to a SLOPD news release.
The officer drew his gun and Pettigrew turned and walked away with the knife still in his hand.
As Pettigrew walked away, the officer holstered his gun, grabbed a less-lethal weapon from his vehicle and followed Pettigrew along the railroad tracks. Another officer provided assistance.
The officers ordered Pettigrew to stop, but he did not comply initially. Ultimately, Pettigrew stopped and the officers convinced him to throw the knife on the ground. The officers used the minimal amount of force necessary to take Pettigrew into custody, the press release states.
No one suffered injuries in the confrontation.
Officers booked Pettigrew into the San Luis Obispo County Jail on charges of felony vandalism, assault with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest. He remains in jail with his bail set at $25,000.
In Nov. 2011, Pettigrew attempted to burn a statue of the Virgin Mary at the San Luis Obispo Mission shortly after morning mass. Pettigrew also forcefully removed paintings from the mission’s walls and damaged them.