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Ocean City

TAZED BUT UNFAZED

(July 19, 2013) The pursuit of a man headed south from Delaware came to a dramatic end Wednesday morning in North Ocean City after the suspect ran into multiple vehicles, fled from police by jumping into the bay, and had to be subdued with multiple Tasings, dog attacks, and less-than-lethal projectiles.

“This guy was incredibly tough,” said Ocean City Police Department Information Officer Mike Levy. “It took a combination of things to bring him down. I give our guys a lot of credit for this one.”

The incident apparently started around 9:45 a.m., when Delaware State Police were alerted to a hit-and-run at Lighthouse Plaza, near Rehoboth Beach, and issued a general bulletin for the offending vehicle.

Police were told the driver, later identified as Brian A. Kriss, 23, of Illinois, had a large knife and was potentially dangerous. Official details on the Rehoboth incident have not yet been released, although several persons said they were told by Delaware police that Kriss had threatened witnesses there with a machete.

“I can’t confirm any details on that yet. The investigation is still ongoing,” said DSP Information Officer Gary Fournier.

Kriss’ Honda Passport had Illinois plates. He is believed to have traveled to the Eastern Shore from Illinois, Levy said, although police are still trying to put together his personal history.

Within a half-hour of the Rehoboth incident, according to DSP, another alert was issued regarding the same vehicle driving erratically southbound on Route 1 near Bethany Beach.

One witness, who approached the OCPD at the scene of the eventual crash here, said he had been in traffic with Kriss at the Indian River Bridge and continued south behind him for some time.

“He was driving like a nut,” said the witness, who did not wish to be identified. “I’m not a cop, but I kept an eye on the guy because you could tell something was seriously wrong with him.”

Local Delaware police began patrolling for the vehicle, which was spotted between South Bethany and Fenwick Island. Two police cars – one from the South Bethany Police Department, and another from the Fenwick Island Police Department – gave pursuit, eventually entering Ocean City.

Kriss apparently tried to evade police by turning into the ocean block at 134th Street and then entering Coastal Highway at 133rd Street going north. When spotted, however, he made an abrupt U-turn, striking another vehicle, and headed south again.

While attempting to escape from stopped traffic around 118th Street at approximately 10:35 a.m., according to witnesses, Kriss sideswiped a black Jeep, running it off the road and onto the front lawn of Supremo Cheesesteaks. The driver of the Jeep was taken away from the scene by Ocean City EMS with non-life-threatening injuries.

Kriss was able to keep driving down Coastal Highway for roughly two blocks, until he rear-ended another SUV and swerved his own vehicle head-on into the sign pole for the Oyster Bay Shopping Center in front of the Greene Turtle.

According to employees there, Kriss immediately got out of the vehicle and ran down Jamestown Road, with the two Delaware officers giving chase. He eventually stole a bicycle, according to the OCPD, and headed south in the area behind the Gold Coast Mall.

With Ocean City police, who had been alerted by the DSP, closing in, Kriss apparently jumped into the bay off 112th Street.

According to witnesses, he began scrambling through the wetland area bordered by Jamestown Road to the north and Channel Buoy Road to the south.

“He was moving from one little island to the next,” said a witness on Channel Buoy Road, who did not wish to be identified. “There must’ve been 10 cops here on the docks by that point.”

Although surrounded, Kriss proved extremely difficult to apprehend. He evaded officers, as well as a police dog, despite having multiple Electronic Control Devices used on him.

“Either it was a bad connection with the Taser, or he would rip the contacts out of his skin and keep going,” Levy said. “We sent in the K-9 unit, but he fought off the dog, too.”

Eventually, a less-than-lethal projectile launcher, which fires high-velocity rubber missiles, was used to bring Kriss down to where he could be restrained.

When fleeing, however, Kriss did not take the machete with him. It was recovered in his vehicle, Levy said.

Kriss is currently in OCPD custody after having been treated at Atlantic General Hospital for multiple injuries related to his apprehension. A toxicology report is being done, Levy said, after which a full slate of criminal charges will be announced.

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