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Forestville man suspected of threatening postal worker, deputies with weapons

A Forestville man was in the Sonoma County Jail Tuesday afternoon on suspicion of threatening a postal worker with a knife and then swinging an ax at responding deputies, triggering a five-hour standoff with authorities on Monday afternoon before he was forcefully taken into custody.

Deputies learned about the suspect, Michael Ritchie, 38, after receiving a 11:13 a.m. report on Monday about a knife-wielding man who confronted a postal worker as they were leaving the Forestville Post Office, Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Juan Valencia said.

Deputies responded and found Ritchie nearby at his home on Highway 116. As deputies spoke to him in front of the house, Ritchie raised a three-foot long ax over his head and said he wanted to start a war, Valencia said. He then swung the weapon and lunged toward the deputies, who kept their distance, Valencia said.

Ritchie used chairs and a table to barricade himself on a porch at the residence, Valencia said.

Hostage negotiators responded but could not get Ritchie to surrender after several hours. A SWAT team was called and fired a less lethal projectile at Ritche, Valencia said. Authorities also deployed a sheriff’s dog that bit Ritchie in the leg, Valencia said.

As he tried to hit the dog with the ax, deputies struck Ritchie with a Taser and took him into custody, Valencia said. He was treated for his injuries at a hospital and was then booked into county jail, where he remained Tuesday afternoon on $50,000 bail.

Ritchie faces several counts, including assault with a deadly weapon, making death threats and brandishing a weapon.

You can reach Staff Writer Nashelly Chavez at 707-521-5203 or nashelly.chavez@pressdemocrat.com.

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