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Originally published Thursday, November 30, 2006 at 12:00 AM

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Man who allegedly threatened family with battle-ax on Thanksgiving charged

Assault charges have been filed against a man who allegedly threatened his family with an ax on Thanksgiving Day before he was shot by King...

Seattle Times staff reporter

Assault charges have been filed against a man who allegedly threatened his family with an ax on Thanksgiving Day before he was shot by King County sheriff's deputies.

Charles Gaxiola, 26, became upset with his mother, Kathy Flynn, when she told him to control his laughter, charging documents say. Flynn said her son had a heavy, homemade battle-ax and refused to put it down, finally raising it above his head in a threatening way, charging documents allege.

Flynn, her husband and a daughter tried to calm Gaxiola down. Flynn's 23-year-old daughter locked herself in the basement of the family's Vashon Island home and Flynn called police at 1:47 p.m. and told them her son was having a "manic episode."

Gaxiola, a diagnosed schizophrenic, had been off his medication and having increasingly frequent psychotic episodes over the previous few weeks, documents say. When deputies arrived at the house, Gaxiola refused to drop the ax and the deputies Tasered him four times, according to charging documents. Gaxiola then raised the ax over his head and charged at Deputy Isaac Patino, and was shot twice by Deputy Melvin Dickson.

Despite his wounds, Gaxiola continued to struggle with deputies, preventing them from restraining him until a third deputy arrived. It took seven minutes after the shooting for the deputies to get him under control, charging documents say.

"It's unheard of. Nobody around here can think of anything like it," said sheriff's spokesman Sgt. John Urquhart. "It shows the state of mind he was in."

Urquhart said both officers had dealt with Gaxiola before and had been bitten by him.

"They are very experienced, calm and collected officers. They negotiated with him for up to 15 minutes. They had no choice but to shoot him," Urquhart said.

Dickson was placed on routine administrative leave. Gaxiola was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and treated for gunshot wounds. Prosecutors are seeking $150,000 bail.

Nancy Bartley: 206-464-8522 or nbartley@seattletimes.com

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