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Jul 24, 2012 6:00 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Man Lunges With Knife At Police In Water Mill; Lands Self, Officers In Hospital

Jul 24, 2012 6:08 PM

A Bridgehampton man lunged at a Southampton Town Police officer with a knife in a busy shopping plaza in Water Mill on Friday afternoon, causing the officer to use pepper spray to subdue the man.

The man then turned the blade on himself, cutting his own wrist in a mistaken attempt to avoid being sent to jail, police said. He and two other officers landed in the hospital for the treatment of minor injuries following the incident.

Police said they responded at about 3:15 p.m. to a call of a man with a knife at the Water Mill Square on Montauk Highway. Jesse Amberstone, 19, of Hampton Court, then attempted to attack the responding officer, Town Police Officer Christopher Florea, with the knife, they said.

The unemployed, 5 foot 6 inch tall, 209-pound Mr. Amberstone came after Officer Florea, making slashing motions with the knife, following a dispute with his foster parents, police said.

Officer Florea called for backup and was able to target him with pepper spray. But Mr. Amberstone refused to drop the knife, police said. Civilians helped the officer detain Mr. Amberstone until other officers arrived.

Mr. Amberstone, who resisted being handcuffed, was taken into custody at 7:30 p.m. and charged with second-degree attempted assault on a police officer and menacing a police officer, both felonies, and with misdemeanor counts of fourth-degee criminal possession of a weapon, resisting arrest and second-degree reckless endangerment. He was taken to Southampton Hospital, where he was treated for his self-inflicted cut and exposure to the pepper spray and also given a psychological evaluation. He was held at police headquarters and posted $35,000 bail following an arraignment in Southampton Town Justice Court, police said.

Officers Florea and Andrew Blodorn were also taken to Southampton Hospital because of their exposure to the pepper spray. Officer Florea also had a minor cut from the scuffle, not the knife, police said.

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Great job Police Officer Florea! Showing restraint and professionalism during this most serious of incidents.
By Clarity (65), Whb on Jul 20, 12 8:19 PM
2 members liked this comment
First a fatal hit and run on a little used road, and now some knife-wielding on Main St.
This is not the Watermill I remember.
By PQ1 (167), hampton bays on Jul 20, 12 8:20 PM
1 member liked this comment
Water Mill's on the map. I urge they check out that little house around the corner from the light.
By rogerdog (4), southampton on Jul 20, 12 9:14 PM
This guy is lucky the cop didn't shoot and kill him. In related news, congratulations to the cop for relying on his pepper spray before his gun.
By Moneybogue (37), Westhampton Beach on Jul 20, 12 10:51 PM
3 members liked this comment
I happened to be working in blockbuster when a woman came in yelling call 911 l I locked the people iny store. I observed this troubled person waiting with a knife to stab a man who was on another store. He then attacked the officer who came to the scene. I want to take a ment to thank all of the civilians who risked their own well being to come to the rescue of this officer. And that includes my assistant. Larry Kelly. I'm glad there are a few good people in this town.
By princess11954 (5), east hampton on Jul 20, 12 11:35 PM
And people want to complain about a cops salary in other articles?!? You couldn't pay me all the gold in the world to walk towards such acts of violence today. Whether it be a knife wielding maniac in Watermill or a gun toting psychopath in a movie theater. I'm thankful for those men and women who are willing to put their lives on the line each day as they continually overcome the uncertainty of what the next call may bring. God bless their souls! Our community does appreciate you. Keep making ...more
By banina81 (11), Sag Harbor on Jul 21, 12 12:56 AM
When will you start campaigning to pay our service people $100,000+ salaries?

A cop can quit at any time, a soldier running away from battle can be executed.
By RealityFirst (597), Bridgehampton on Jul 21, 12 9:57 AM
3 members liked this comment
Couldn't agree more! This one incident doesn't justify the bloated SHPD salaries, cops all over the country deal with incidents like this on a regular basis and for less than half the salaries!
Jul 21, 12 1:49 PM appended by ICE
This would have been an opportune time to use a bean bag round out of a shotgun! Pepper spray is a joke and subject to the wind....
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Jul 21, 12 1:49 PM
A cop commits a heroic act against an armed deranged criminal. All these guys can do is complain. I feel sorry for their families (if they have families) Their negativity is toxic. Thank you Officer for your bravery.
By TianaBob (256), S.Jamesport on Jul 22, 12 6:26 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Jul 22, 12 7:25 PM
Really censor happy.... wow! Stand by my comment it was not heroic, it was in the job description......
Jul 23, 12 6:29 PM appended by ICE
Was my comment removed due to the link? If so why has that policy been implemented by 27east?
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Jul 23, 12 6:29 PM
This Police Officer is and ALWAYS will be a MARINE....
By 1640sWhaler (74), Sag Harbor/Easthampton on Feb 7, 14 4:39 PM
Look at the joys "wealth" hath wrought for us...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jul 21, 12 7:21 AM
1 member liked this comment
Yeah, less wealthy areas have much lower levels of violence.
By RealityFirst (597), Bridgehampton on Jul 21, 12 9:59 AM
As Majel Barret would state:

Jul 21, 12 10:20 PM appended by Mr. Z
More equitable states have lower levels of violence.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jul 21, 12 10:20 PM
Oh please Z give it a rest, your smart enough to see a difference between Watermill and Shirley
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Jul 21, 12 12:50 PM
Average yard size? Money doesn't buy taste, class or integrity.....
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Jul 21, 12 1:50 PM
2 members liked this comment
Do you suppose the violent crime rate in Shirley might be a teensy bit higher?
By RealityFirst (597), Bridgehampton on Jul 21, 12 9:02 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jul 21, 12 10:22 PM
I do see the difference.

However, I have seen far too many similarities...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jul 23, 12 4:08 PM
-ice to-bad the shpd are not equipped with bean bag guns and you obviously have not been sprayed with oc spray pepper spray is the civilian version of oc , which is what the police use it is a lot stronger.
- reality first. The service member don't get executed if they just leave get your facts straight they get dishonerably discharged and the service members know that going into the military there is no draft going on. That kid is lucky is wasn't me responding because i would have shot the ...more
By semperfi9263 (23), quogue on Jul 21, 12 6:41 PM
1 member liked this comment
Maybe he should have shot him in the arm and saved himself a trip to the ER at SH Hospital. Maybe it's time for the SHPD to explore equipping and training their officers with less lethal options like the bean bag rounds and/or FN Herstal's FN303 P which has 7 rounds that can be deployed on 7 different assailants, unlike the taser which is in use by SHPD and can only incapacitate one person at a much shorter distance. If you can state the facts without calling people you don't agree with stupid, ...more
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Jul 22, 12 7:39 PM
That's right ICE, he "shoulda winged 'em" just like in the movies, huh?
By Phadreus1340 (144), Southampton on Jul 23, 12 7:49 AM
Why on earth would he shoot someone when pepper spray or a taser would do the job?! Sadist.
By Miss K. (103), East Quogue on Jul 23, 12 9:19 AM
Not like in the movies, like in real life where I would hope the officer is capable of a precise shot to neutralize the threat, while maintaining control of the situation. In the movies it would have been one between the eyes!

As for pepper spray doing the same job, did you read the article or just the comment? "The officer was taken to Southampton Hospital for the treatment of a small cut and minor injuries from the pepper spray. It was not immediately clear if the cut was from the knife ...more
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Jul 23, 12 6:38 PM
It is normal course of business, when a cop pulls his weapon, he is out to kill you. There are no warning shots, or wing shots. There is no premise under the law for that tv inspired crap. Git it? Get out of the couch and join the real world.
By Phadreus1340 (144), Southampton on Jul 24, 12 3:27 PM
1 member liked this comment
Couch? Fat chance "dude". So, you mean to tell me a cop has never shot to disable/wound a perp, rather than kill him? Bottom line is by not drawing his weapon he could have lost it! How much protection would those locked glass doors have provided against a 9mm Glock?
My point being the officer didn't have control of the situation due to the fact that civilians had to help detain Mr. Amberstone. It is fortunate that the incident didn't escalate. Your comments illustrate a lack of rational debating ...more
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Jul 25, 12 12:28 AM
Well, "dude" would you please cite a source, where any law enforcement agency, anywhere in the country, trains it police to "shoot to wound" or disable? I know damn well if I were in that positon and I have a nut job with a knife, my gun is going to be ready to use, Its that simple andd it is accepted i the "escalation of deadly force" that police are required to climb. Tht the cop involved got a taste of his pepper spray is common, geez, you're spraying this crap in the air that you are standing ...more
By Phadreus1340 (144), Southampton on Jul 26, 12 8:26 AM
Still waiting ICE. Any more brilliant comments? Find anything to back up your idiotic statements?
By Phadreus1340 (144), Southampton on Jul 27, 12 9:43 AM
Sorry correct I mean to say.... so they can stay at home all safe making stupid comments with out knowing all the facts
By semperfi9263 (23), quogue on Jul 21, 12 6:53 PM
When was the last time that a deadly weapon was involved in a confrontation with the STPD? Prior to this incident, I remember one case wherein the cops claimed to have been "menaced" by a perp wielding a can of malt liquor, but that's as dangerous as it has gotten. (To be distinguished from those cases wherein deadly weapons have been uncovered following searches.)

Not to disparage the cops' performance here. The situation appears to have been professionally handled. But $$150K/yr. ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jul 21, 12 9:42 PM
FWIW, these salaries are common, north and east of NYC. It is by far not just SHTPD making this kind of $.
By Phadreus1340 (144), Southampton on Jul 22, 12 10:03 AM
Tinfoil Hat Size - how about $32,684? Is that an OK amount of pay to take down a knife wielding lunatic? That's how much this officer was paid in 2011. See for yourself, google is your friend.

And just because you don't have a memory of other incidents which have occurred (see below) doesn't mean any given day is safer. When was the last time there was a murder in that town in Colorado? Do you think that makes ANY difference? There are crazy people capable of doing crazy things at ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jul 22, 12 8:46 PM
2 members liked this comment
Why is the alleged perp identified right away in this case.?
By lucy2 (63), Southampton, NY on Jul 22, 12 7:50 AM
1 member liked this comment
Why blame the Police for the amount they make? It's Town Hall that negotiates salaries.
By TianaBob (256), S.Jamesport on Jul 22, 12 6:37 PM
Hh you go out an wrestle this nutcase down, and then see how much you would want to be paid to do the same. Some professions get paid for what they may have to do in an instant, not what they do all of the time. Your logic should then transfer to fdny firemen who are paid 100k and in certain places do very little to nothing at all. When we all know that after 9-11 they deserve every penny they earn.
By Clarity (65), Whb on Jul 22, 12 6:46 PM
-highhatsize .. You must not keep you on the news over the post year there is a double murder at dream club in hampton bays on halloween last spring there was a man beat to death in speonk a kid chased a Stpd officer with a hand axe and once about the cops where able to defuse him without shotting him.
By semperfi9263 (23), quogue on Jul 22, 12 8:04 PM
Highhatsize ... Do some research Before you comment the police salaries are public you can look them up on line which I did there is no Stpd police officer making 150k they make 108 after 7 years of service if you look up this officer salary which I once again did he is making 57k a year. Doctors and lawyers make a lot more than that and they are not even putting there lives on the line I don't see anyone commenting about them..
By semperfi9263 (23), quogue on Jul 22, 12 8:09 PM
to semperfi9263:

STPD annual compensation is posted on the Town of Southampton website. It averages at $$150k/yr./cop, but some cops, particularly one sergeant who has overstayed his 20 year retirement date by quite a few years, makes @$$220K/yr. I suggest that you follow your own advice per research.

I am ignorant of the hand-axe-wielding case of which you speak. A closer chronological reference would be appreciated.

Putting one's life at risk to defend the public ...more
Jul 22, 12 9:52 PM appended by highhatsize
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jul 22, 12 9:52 PM
1 member liked this comment
You are absoutley right sir, you are ignorant, we do finally agree!
By Clarity (65), Whb on Jul 22, 12 11:27 PM
Tinfoil Hat - I see you have chosen once again to ignore my post (about the cop making a paltry ~ $36,000 last year) and about how much your tax bill for cops is compared to your tax bill for the FD. Silence is deafening . . .
Jul 23, 12 1:12 PM appended by Nature
Salary info from: seethroughny.net Don't be so lazy HHS - I've pointed out this website to you many times. Also, you keep dodging the question of how much $$ you pay the PD vs the FD. My point isn't that it doens't cost you personally THAT much - my point is, why does the PD cost the same (or very near the same) as the FD when the FD is volunteer and the PD get paid at "stupendous" rates?
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jul 23, 12 1:12 PM
Being a soldier in Iraq or Afganistan for $1,600 a month and protecting American is a hero. A 150k a year glorified meter maid driving in an air conditioned car is an outrage. Time to disband local PD's and replace them with the State Police.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jul 23, 12 12:07 AM
Most cops were or are currently still in the military, does that change your opinion? Are they now entitled to their pay and benefits? If you are not happy with your situation you could have taken the test like anyone had the opportunity to and then volunteered to work for 30 grand and donate the remainder of your pay to the community preservation fund.
By Clarity (65), Whb on Jul 23, 12 11:54 AM
And the state police make over 100 k a year also, so what do we do with them?
By Clarity (65), Whb on Jul 23, 12 12:37 PM
It seems as though most of these ignorant people come from the same party of people. The Kabot conspiracy. All using different stage names on phones and computers. Isn't that right, Lance kabot I mean high hatsize ( be careful with who you confide with ).Maybe we should start throwing more names out there. No one else came for that knife wielding psycho but this officer. Good job Po Florea, the rest of the town applauds you.
By khan (36), hampton bays on Jul 23, 12 2:31 PM
2 members liked this comment
It doesn't work that way in this town.
By jams (129), hampton bays on Jul 25, 12 8:58 PM
Policing is an honorable and noble profession and will continue to attract worthy candidates to the ranks regardless of the pay. Officer Flores behavior herein in no more (or less) praiseworthy because of the salary he earns.

Nonetheless, a citation to authority of Officer Flores' extraordinarily small salary would be appreciated. Ditto, as previously requested, to the story about STPD cops disarming a hand-axe wielding assailant. You, know, the way I did to the Town of Southampton webpage ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jul 23, 12 3:12 PM
chief1- i was a Sgt in the Marines and went on two deployments to fallujah iraq i knew the money i would be making when i signed up. . Maybe if are president stopped wasting are are tax paying money one people that dont want to work and stay home all day or speanding millions if not billion giving health care to illegal coming into the country maybe just maybe then the military could get a rase...
By semperfi9263 (23), quogue on Jul 23, 12 3:51 PM
Dude, please.
There is a real difference between "are" and "our" Mistaking them makes you look really bad and kils any valid debate you enter into And no drives highhat into a tizzy.....so on second thought, keep doing it.
By Phadreus1340 (144), Southampton on Jul 24, 12 10:50 AM
By Miss K. (103), East Quogue on Aug 2, 12 2:42 PM
highhatsize-that total include there benfits package and healthcare they are not making or taking 220k the pay for sgt tops out a 130k the chief of police isnt even making 220K.
By semperfi9263 (23), quogue on Jul 23, 12 3:53 PM
are you saying highhatsize is lance kabot
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jul 23, 12 6:13 PM
Well let's see you ignorant a-holes who only care about how much this cop makes a year. If it was your life on the line or one of our children's lives on the line wit some sicko nut job wielding A knife ready to kill you, if u would really care how much he makes a year. I don't care if he makes a damn tax free million. He was there to serve and protect. And it's exactly what he did. Until u were there or had to witness that horror then I think u should keep your comments to yourself. I bet if u ...more
By princess11954 (5), east hampton on Jul 23, 12 7:01 PM
2 members liked this comment
And we all choose our professions ifu are uncomfortable with yours maybe u should look into something else
By princess11954 (5), east hampton on Jul 23, 12 7:03 PM
to Natrure:

Thanks for the citation to the seethroughny website which reveals a glaring discrepancy. IT claims that Officer Flores makes but $$36K/yr. but the Southampton Town website show no full-time officer making less than $$100K,/yr. That's a $$64K difference that should be investigated! (Unless it is explicable by some puerile subterfuge like Officer Flores being a temporary or seasonal officer.)

"lies, damned lies, and statistics." Why is it that that old saw comes to ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jul 23, 12 8:59 PM
In the all-too-near future Officer Florea will have the option of tasking a drone to neutralize the perp.

(adjusts TF hat)
By loading... (601), quiogue on Jul 23, 12 11:16 PM
I think you watched the movie I-robot with will smith tooooo much thats hollywood buddy never going to happen sorry to say. and we will never be flying cars like the jetsons. sorry to ruin your hopes and dreams some back done to planet earth.
By semperfi9263 (23), quogue on Jul 24, 12 10:37 AM
Do you really not know that drones are already in use in this country? Not necessarily the predator and it's ilk, but drones for surveillance. I'm surprised a former Marine wouldn't be up on this type of info. Google domestic drones and see what you find. As may you know drones were first implemented in a surveillance capacity by the military before they were weaponized. It's a logical evolution in the domestic usage as well. Thank you for your service to our country in Iraq, but do take note your ...more
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Jul 24, 12 11:27 AM
Hopes and dreams? More like your worst nightmare. Here's a PARTIAL list of entities with current FAA approval to fly drones domestically:
City of Herrington, Kansas
Cornell University
Department of Energy Idaho National Laboratory
Miami-Dade Police Department
Mississippi Department of Marine Resources
North Little Rock Police Department, Arkansas
Ogden Police Department, Utah
Ohio University
Seattle Police Department ...more
By loading... (601), quiogue on Jul 24, 12 5:59 PM
1 member liked this comment
By Miss K. (103), East Quogue on Aug 2, 12 2:43 PM
Was the perpetrator of the crime hopped up on drugs? What was the reason in this case for his irrational and violent behavior? The police did a great job preventing a homicide here. Thank you.
By Vikki K (490), Southampton on Jul 24, 12 11:30 AM
Well when im incorrect im incorrect and im not afraid to say it so let me Apologize for the drone comment i thought you were referring to a robot police officer like robocop. But a drone wouldnt be the answer, first of all drones take a long to deploy and someone had to fly them and get them up in the air and they cost a hell lot more that what the stpd makes. Plus do you want a drone shotting at a man with a knife while other innocent people are around if a drone would have been used this kid would ...more
By semperfi9263 (23), quogue on Jul 24, 12 7:30 PM
1 member liked this comment
enough about police salaries-they are paid what they are worth and the pay scale is in line with what police officers make elsewhere. Its not our fault that highhatsize is only making $118m as a teacher. Police officers are worth more than middle school teachers
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jul 24, 12 8:04 PM
2 members liked this comment
It is also not our fault that highhats wife lose her job
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jul 24, 12 8:06 PM
1 member liked this comment
Lost the track of this article, a threat has been eliminated from the street. Good Job!!!
By OldSalt (10), Sag Harbor on Jul 25, 12 6:50 AM
BLAH BLAH BLAH... Cops deserve 150k Teachers deserve 200k and so on and so on. Guess what? WE ARE BROKE!!!!! Suffolk County is in the hole 500 million and every village and township on Long Island will not be able to pay their pension contributions in the next 10 years. Wheres the money coming from? These greedy unions are going to get their members pensions cut in half. You think it won't happen then reseach how California counties are filing bankruptcy and screwing retired workers. The union can't ...more
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jul 25, 12 9:10 PM
1 member liked this comment
Everyone is speaking on things they know nothing about, yes this was a dangerous situation for the cop and others around, but what about Jese? He is a young kid who has been in many foster homes in his life and has suffered from abuse in many of these homes. This county needs to do more to protect innocent kids like him from being abused and pushed to this point of mental anguish to want to hurt himself and others.
By FyreGoddess (2), Sag Harbor on Jul 26, 12 8:27 AM
1 member liked this comment
and to comment on all the salary stuff, these cops are def over paid.....the police in the city have to deal with a much higher population and a lot more violent crimes and they dont make the money that the cops of southampton
By FyreGoddess (2), Sag Harbor on Jul 26, 12 8:30 AM
Over half of the Shtpd cops were NYC cops, does this mean they are now allowed to be paid this much after serving time in Harlem for many years? You people make me sick
By Clarity (65), Whb on Jul 26, 12 2:03 PM
Monday afternoon QB's what's the difference between a gun or knife in Water Mill, Southampton, Riverside, New Jersey, Detroit, LA???? NOTHING!! It's the same Gun or Knife every where you go. Put on the uniform and do the job they do for a week, if not shut up or move to another town. We don't need you dragging our town down.
By 1640sWhaler (74), Sag Harbor/Easthampton on Feb 7, 14 4:44 PM