Man caught on camera wielding machete, smashing windows charged with felony assault


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ The man who was seen on security footage throwing chairs through the front windows of a city office building and threatening officers with a machete has been charged with felony assault.

Police said Wilfredo Catlin, 33, forced his way into 100 Westminster Street Monday evening and began screaming and acting aggressively.

After he was escorted from the building by security, surveillance footage shows Catlin rushed back toward the building and proceeded to throw outdoor chairs through the front windows.

Police said responding officers found Catlin wielding a machete, which he threatened to attack them with several times.

Catlin was eventually arrested at gunpoint and transported to Rhode Island Hospital to be evaluated.

He is charged with felony assault and battery, breaking and entering, vandalism and disorderly conduct.

The building is owned by Paolino Properties and houses several businesses, as well as the U.S. Attorney’s office.

In a statement Tuesday, Joseph Paolino Jr. accused city leaders of not doing enough to support their residents.

“This incident is an example of our city failing its people,” Paolino said. “We ask our police to respond to issues related to homelessness, addiction, and mental health – things that they should not have to deal with on their own – with fewer officers than necessary to do their jobs.”

Paolino said while he’s thankful no one was injured and officers were able to quickly respond and apprehend Catlin, he urged city leaders to work together with law enforcement and the community to prevent these types of crimes before they happen.

“With all the violent crime we’ve seen lately, we cannot simply defund our police without a plan for how to provide the community with the support that it needs,” Paolino said. “We should look at the needs of each neighborhood and give police officers the tools they need to do their jobs, in the form of additional training and providing a stronger network of social services. This isn’t about left versus right. This is about right versus wrong.”

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