As a combat sport enthusiast and a defense and arrest tactics instructor with the Beloit Police, Sgt. Andrew Arnold says he’s been in some “scraps” but had never witnessed a fight like the one Clinton Police Officer David Hooker endured Thursday evening.
“That guy (Hooker) is a rock star. An eight-minute fight is unheard of. At one point the officer was disarmed. In the middle of this very dynamic visceral struggle he had the wherewithal to render his firearm safe. That is crazy. He did a great job,” Arnold said.
Hooker survived an eight-minute attack which involved a 59-year-old man allegedly attempting to fire a weapon at him from close range.
The Rock County Communications Center received a hang-up 911 call from 703 Carol St., Apartment K at 6 p.m. Thursday, and Hooker was dispatched to make contact on scene. When Hooker arrived Terry P. Robinson wrestled him to the ground, disarmed him and attempted to fire the weapon point-blank at the officer, according to Rock County Sheriff’s Department Commander Troy Knudson.
Arnold, whose actions were called “heroic” by Knudson, said he lives in Clinton and was scheduled to work third shift at 7 p.m. in Beloit to relieve Sgt. Mark Douglas. He had his alarm set for 10 minutes after 6 p.m.
At 6:13 p.m. Douglas made the potentially controversial decision to call Arnold over to the scene. Although Arnold was off-duty and not a Clinton officer, Douglas knew Arnold only lived a block away. Two Beloit units were on the way, but Douglas wanted someone there quicker to help Hooker.
“Sgt. Douglas is the unsung hero in this,” Arnold said. “He had to call a guy that is off-duty and activate him in an official capacity in another jurisdiction. It could have backfired administratively, but he didn’t hesitate to make the call.”
Arnold grabbed his firearm and badge and ran out the door. When he arrived to the apartment he saw a group of people outside and saw a motorcycle unit with a Rock County Sheriff’s Deputy traveling southbound on State Highway 140 on his way to help.
Arnold recalls being concerned the deputy would see him in street clothes with a gun, so Arnold waved at him and held up his radio as he trotted up the front lawn.
Arnold said the scene was like the “classic horror movie,” with the apartment being on the second floor, up a long flight of stairs and at the end of a dark hallway.
“I heard some muffled sounds and people struggling. I made entry into the home. Mr. Robinson was on his back and Hooker was on top of him trying to hold onto his legs. Mr. Hooker was very clearly exhausted. He had been fighting for eight minutes,” Arnold said.
The wife of Robinson had been on the phone with 911 saying an ambulance was needed, but no one had stepped in to help Hooker do battle with the 6 foot, 2 inches tall, and roughly 220-pound man.
Arnold jumped in to help and was joined by Rock County Sheriff’s Deputy Mike Schauer and the three fought for about four more minutes. Rock County Sgt. Mark Thompson and Deputy Greg Joseph were on scene shortly thereafter.
“Everybody that went through that door that night was facing scary circumstances. All the officers helped get him (Robinson) completely under control and in custody,” Knudson noted
“We eventually got him secured in handcuffs and moved to the front terrace,” Arnold said.
Although Robinson did not appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he was a strong fighter.
“This guy was the most difficult guy to control. He was very motivated,” Arnold said. “That was a very physical fight and very difficult to control.”
Detectives from the Rock County Sheriff’s Office are conducting an ongoing investigation into this incident. Robinson was arrested for attempted first degree intentional homicide, battery to a police officer and disarming a police officer.
Arnold has been with the Beloit Police Department for 10 years. He is on the tactical team, involved in the field training program and is defense and an arrest tactics instructor.