Prosecutors charged a Lincoln man Tuesday with attempted possession of a firearm as a prohibited person in connection with an alleged struggle over an officer's gun earlier this month.

Police arrested Joseph Guenther, 28, of 800 Rutland Drive, on Monday.

Officer Angela Sands said that at about 8 p.m. Aug. 3, a two-officer team went to Guenther’s home southwest of 14th Street and Old Cheney Road on a report that he was suicidal.

When one of the officers tried to put him in handcuffs to take him into emergency protective custody for a mental health evaluation, Guenther struggled with the officer and they went to the ground, according to an affidavit to arrest him.

In it, police said Guenther grabbed the officer's holstered firearm and was tugging on it, causing her to put her hands over Guenther’s to keep him from getting the gun out.

Sands said at one point in the two-minute struggle, Guenther had the gun halfway out of the holster.

She said officers twice tried to use a Taser on him, but it wasn't effective.

Ultimately, police were able to pry his fingers from the gun, handcuff him and take him to a medical center for a mental health evaluation, Sands said.

"Officers responded to assist a man suffering from a mental health crisis and ended up in a fight for their lives,” she said.

When Guenther was released Monday, police took him to jail on suspicion of assaulting an officer. But he ended up facing the gun charge, which carries a term of one to 50 years in prison, if he's convicted.

At a brief hearing Tuesday, Lancaster County Judge Timothy Phillips set his bond at $150,000 and appointed an attorney to represent him.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7237 or lpilger@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSpilger.


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