CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio — A man with a sledgehammer violently interrupted diners at a local fast food restaurant.
“This is Wendy’s Howe Avenue, I have some guy with a sledgehammer breaking out my front windows,” the manager can be heard telling a dispatcher in a call to 911.
The panicked manager of the Wendy’s restaurant in Cuyahoga Falls called for help after a man police identifed as Andrew Meiser, 45, took a sledgehammer to four front windows around 5:45 p.m. Monday.
By chance, off-duty Kent police officer Mike Fleming was waiting in line at the drive-thru.
“I hear something and I see the manager run out the store and he’s got a phone and his hands are shaking. I’m thinking they’re getting robbed,” said Fleming.
According to Cuyahoga Falls police, Meiser had eaten at the restaurant earlier in the evening.
They said he went to Home Depot across the street, bought a six-pound sledgehammer, returned to Wendy’s and went on a rampage.
Officer Fleming said he is specifically trained for dealing with people in stressful situations.
As he tried to calm down Meiser, customers and employees called 911.
“Just tell everybody to stay back from him and let police handle it,” a dispatcher told another 911 caller.
“C’mon, c’mon, get outta the way, let’s go!” the caller can be heard yelling to people inside.
Officer Fleming said he eventually wrestled the sledgehammer from Meiser and held him on the ground until Cuyahoga Falls officers arrived.
“I identified myself when I put my hands on him. I said, ‘I’m a police officer, okay, Andy… my name is Mike, I’m a police officer, I don’t want to hurt ya,'” said Fleming.
Fleming said he asked Meiser why he did it.
“He just said that Wendy’s is making him mad. He didn’t tell me why Wendy’s is making him mad,” Fleming said.
Meiser has been charged with inducing panic and vandalism.
Although several customers thanked him, Mike said he’s no hero.
“We deal with this stuff every day, and we start to think of it as mundane or this is just part of the job, so no, I don’t feel like a hero. I feel like I did what any other police officer would have done,” Fleming said.
No customers or employees were hurt in the incident.
Police said Meiser was treated at a local hospital for cuts on his hand.
He was then transferred to a psychiatric hospital for evaluation.