Virgin Mary vandal threatens SLO officer with a knife

May 20, 2016
Daniel Pettigrew

Daniel Pettigrew

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.



  1. achillesheal says:

    Pretty sad state when we identify these bums by past crimes they have committed. You are building quite a resume there mr petitigrew.

    (5) 7 Total Votes - 6 up - 1 down
  2. r0y says:

    I am curious if this person’s race played a part in the decision to use non-lethal force. I remember a time when you pulled a weapon (or perceived weapon) on an officer, it was usually met with bullets.

    (16) 26 Total Votes - 21 up - 5 down
  3. just thinking says:

    Quick, give him a ride out of the county. Before he qualifies for Laura’s Law.

    (9) 13 Total Votes - 11 up - 2 down
  4. Pelican1 says:

    The arresting officer indicated that Pettigrew was singing the following just prior to the confrontation:

    Well, I don’t care if it rains or freezes,
    Long as I have my plastic Jesus
    Riding on the dashboard of my car
    Through all trials and tribulations,
    We will travel every nation,
    With my plastic Jesus I’ll go far.

    Plastic Jesus, plastic Jesus
    Riding on the dashboard of my car
    Through all trials and tribulations,
    We will travel every nation,
    With my plastic Jesus I’ll go far.

    I don’t care if it rains or freezes
    As long as I’ve got my Plastic Jesus
    Glued to the dashboard of my car,
    You can buy Him phosphorescent
    Glows in the dark, He’s Pink and Pleasant,
    Take Him with you when you’re travelling far


    I don’t care if it’s dark or scary
    Long as I have magnetic Mary
    Ridin’ on the dashboard of my car
    I feel I’m protected amply
    I’ve got the whole damn Holy Family
    Riding on the dashboard of my car

    (-8) 10 Total Votes - 1 up - 9 down
  5. Ted Slanders says:

    Wait a minute, instead of the proposed homeless shelter off Prado Road of only being approximately 225 rooms, why not double that amount so SLO town can get more Daniel Pettigrews roaming the streets? San Luis Obispo is only a little unsafe at this time with the likes of this homeless person in town, so why not go full bore and make the future Prado Road Homeless Shelter 450 rooms to make it really unsafe for “Tax Paying Citizens?”

    As for the young homeless on the benches in SLO town, the Armed Services are hiring 24/7/365 in many areas that do not require them to be on the front lines. As for the mentally disturbed and older homeless with no job opportunities in the foreseeable future, one less fraudulent invasion of another country would pay for these people to be helped in new hospitals, training, and accommodations around the nation and have money left over.

    (9) 23 Total Votes - 16 up - 7 down
    • Resident says:

      You are being unreasonable.

      We need at least 2,000 beds. In fact, if I were mayor, and I knew how to keep SLO safe, I would argue for at least 4,000 beds for the homeless, that will SURELY end the homeless invasion SLO (I’m trying to get into the Marx headspace here, trying to understand what she is thinking)..

      This city is being invaded, and it’s 150% Thanks to Prado and Maxine, and now the idiots in charge want to double it.. Get ready for a lot more people roaming around town with blankets on their heads, and taking shopping carts and dumping them all around town.

      (18) 22 Total Votes - 20 up - 2 down
  6. DocT says:

    I usually have a negative outlook on police and their methods. Having said that, based on this story I am very happy that not only did the police protect and serve in this situation, they did so minus ANY of the trigger-happy, brutal antics we’re becoming all to familiar with.

    SLO police and this officer in particular exhibited professionalism and excellent judgement all around. Nice job gentlemen.

    I might be your worst critic, but that’s only because I know good police work when I see it. And with regard to this story, I definitely see it.

    Great job SLO PD!

    (32) 38 Total Votes - 35 up - 3 down
    • achillesheal says:

      The depiction of trigger-happy brutal cops against poor innocent african american honor students is a media created myth. The cops would have been justified in shooting this perpetrator who brandished a knife and threatened a police officer armed with a gun due to the danger he presented to the unarmed civilian.

      (12) 42 Total Votes - 27 up - 15 down
      • kettle says:

        Ironic that you justify shooting a guy who is just standing there (or walking away), and then claim its a media myth, another myth is that the police can tell someone is a honor student from 20 feet away, they can’t.

        Having grown up in a large city with a large minority population and many cranky cops you have no idea what you are talking about, seriously 0.

        The police are not here to extract vengeance or punish, but to protect everyone, even the idiots, drunks and the clueless.

        Proper policing is spending I can support. +1 SLOPD

        (3) 25 Total Votes - 14 up - 11 down
        • achillesheal says:

          Just standing there with a knife raised in close proximity to the officer and telling him to back off. He sounds pure as the driven snow.

          (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down
    • slowtime says:

      Officer did good, but the crook was half a step away from 2 to the chest, one to the head

      (17) 29 Total Votes - 23 up - 6 down
    • integritymd says:

      I agree, DocT, and well said…

      (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down

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