HUPD Apprehends Homeless Man

Pantless Copage charged with assault with a deadly weapon

A homeless man camped outside of the Quad Library, partially unclothed and brandishing a three-inch knife, landed himself an arrest last Thursday night after he was discovered laying facedown in a bush.

Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) officers apprehended a pantsless, shoeless Timothy J. Copage, 45, at around 8 p.m. and charged him with assault with a deadly weapon, disorderly conduct, and having an outstanding warrant. Copage was found sprawled in the Quad Library loading dock the night of his arrest—a night with temperatures in the mid-forties.

“The individual got up off his feet, started to wave a knife and yelled for the officer to get away from him,” said Steven G. Catalano, HUPD spokesman. “The officer stepped back, then radioed for back-up.”

The exchange occurred opposite Garden Street, causing passerbys to cross the street in order to avoid an unruly Copage, according to Catalano.

“At that point, he did drop the knife and lay on the ground,” he said. “While on the ground, he was still yelling at the officer to leave him alone.”

The outstanding warrant found on Copage’s record, according to Catalano, was a default warrant, which is issued when an individual fails to show up for a court date.

Copage did not give HUPD a current home address and identified himself as homeless during booking.

Online public records accessed by The Crimson yesterday revealed Copage’s last listed address was in Boston, where he lived up until December 1999. The perpetrator has also lived in El Monte and Rosemead, Calif., as well as in Jacksonville, N.C.

Word of the incident had not reached House administrators in the Quad by yesterday evening.

“I haven’t heard about it yet,” said Currier House Master Joseph L. Badaracco. “Typically the house administrator receives a notice [but] this is the first I’ve heard about it.

Harvard College Library spokeswoman Beth Brainard could not be reached for comment yesterday,

Catalano said HUPD did not send out a community advisory because “this isolated incident did not pose a continuing public safety threat to the community.”

There were three officers present at the scene, but Copage didn’t put much of a physical fight.

“Once instructed to lie on the ground, he did comply but he was still acting in a loud and boisterous way,” he said. “There was no physical violence used to subdue him.”

And although Copage posed little resistance to the arrest, the potential for injury to either party was high, Catalano said.

“The officer in this situation acted in a very professional manner and showed the utmost restraint,” he said. “Because of the officers’ restraint and levelheadedness, no one was injured.”

—Staff writer Robin M. Peguero can be reached at peguero@fas.harvard.edu.