While they were investigating a domestic violence incident, deputies encountered a heavily-armed man who was “prepared to kill as many cops as he could,” the Richland County Sheriff’s Department said Sunday.
No shots were fired and “no one got hurt,” Sheriff Leon Lott said in a news release.
The incident happened last Friday, when deputies were investigating an incident involving domestic violence, according to the release. Information about where the incident happened was not available.
During the investigation, deputies discovered that 43-year-old Zachary Tanaka had made threats to harm law enforcement officers, his wife, and his children, the sheriff’s department said. This prompted deputies to search Tanaka’s home, according to the release.
During the search, deputies found anti-police propaganda, a makeshift barricade with sandbags, and many weapons with ammunition, according to the release.
There was no word on the specific nature of the anti-police materials.
The sheriff’s department shared photos from the search that showed multiple rifles and pistols. Information about how many guns were found, and if they were legally owned by Tanaka, was not available.
“These are the types of individuals that we face every day in law enforcement. He was prepared to kill as many cops as he could,” Lott said. “He had made a statement that that’s what he was going to do. These photographs show the sandbags and the numerous weapons he had waiting for us. Fortunately, we were able to outsmart him and no one got hurt.”
Information about how deputies avoided a violent showdown with Tanaka was not available.
Tanaka was charged with domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature, disseminating obscene material to a minor less than 12 years old, two counts of neglect by legal custodian, third-degree criminal sexual conduct, and criminal sexual conduct with minor (victim less than 16 years old), the sheriff’s department said.
Bond was denied on all six charges and Tanaka remains locked up in the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center, jail records show.
Information about the medical conditions of Tanaka’s family members was not available.
“If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please let us help you,” Lott previously said. Help is available by calling 1-800-799-7233, according to the sheriff’s department.
Domestic violence calls are one of the most dangerous situations law enforcement officers face every day, the sheriff’s department said.
“Pray for our deputies every day as they have a dangerous job to protect our citizens and Richland County,” Lott said in Sunday’s release.
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