Police shoot man, believing he had knife

Suffolk County police investigate a shooting by an

Suffolk County police investigate a shooting by an officer near the Babylon Park Center in Deer Park Wednesday. Police responded to a call of a domestic dispute and a man, whose father told police had psychological issues, was shot after a after a brief chase, police said. (Oct. 9, 2013) (Credit: Jim Staubitser)

A Deer Park man with a history of mental illness was shot by a Suffolk police officer Wednesday after he lunged at officers with what they believed was a knife, authorities said.

Eric Bohlsen, 40, underwent surgery and was in stable condition in a hospital's intensive care unit, Suffolk police said.

Officers responded to a dispute between the Bohlsen and his father Edward Bohlsen, 79, at their Babylon Park Center apartment about 10:30 a.m. When police officers arrived, the son threatened them with a knife, said Det. Lt. Jack Fitzpatrick, head of the homicide squad.


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"He refuses to drop the knife," Fitzpatrick said.

The son ran onto the property of a neighboring trucking company, where pursuing officers lost sight of him, he said.

Unbeknownst to the officers, the man dropped the knife on the trucking company property, Fitzpatrick said. A civilian who saw this retrieved the knife and brought it to police later, he said.

But the responding officers found the man back in the apartment, which was "dark and cramped," and in the bedroom, he appeared to have a knife, Fitzpatrick said.

"He is making motions with his hand -- cutting himself in the chest," Fitzpatrick said.

Then he lunged at officers, one of whom shot him in the chest, with the other shooting a Taser at him, he said.

"At that point, he had no weapon," Fitzpatrick said. "The officers thought he had one."

The man's father told police his son had psychological issues, had stopped taking his medication five years ago and had threatened to cut off his father's head, Fitzpatrick said.

Police arrested Bohlsen on two outstanding warrants and additional charges are pending.

A man who said he was the father told a reporter later his son is in intensive care at Good Samaritan Hospital. He declined further comment, saying, "I have enough troubles," before closing the door of the apartment.

A woman who would only identify herself as a next-door neighbor called the man who was shot "a good kid."

She said she overheard the father call the police for help with his son, then saw the son come out of the apartment and run down an alleyway at the complex.

"He never bothers anybody," she said.

A Suffolk police spokeswoman said police are still looking into whether there have been prior calls to that home.

Since 2006, Suffolk police shot at 10 individuals, five of whom were killed, records show.

With William Murphy

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