Alexandria Police have executed an emergency custody order (ECO) for a West End man with a history of mental illness and violent behavior.

As of April 21, Cody Patrick Canniff was under evaluation at Inova Alexandria Hospital after throwing a “large tree” at an Alexandria Police officer outside his apartment building in the 300 block of Yoakum Parkway. The incident was the second mental health complaint against Canniff that day.

Canniff was arrested for brandishing a firearm against a family inside a 7-Eleven convenience store in 2012, and was also arrested for assault and battery against his then-wife in October 2016.

Four years later, on Dec. 26, 2020, Canniff was then taken into custody under an ECO after allegedly throwing machetes at people from his balcony, according to police. Several knives and a Smith and Wesson handgun were seized.

“Mr. Canniff stated that the devil had taken custody of his body,” Police said of the Dec. 26, 2020 incident.

Canniff was also taken into custody for an ECO in February for allegedly walking around his apartment complex and threatening residents with a machete.

“During the incident, he was mentally unstable and not making coherent statements and also attempted to jump out the window,” police said in a search warrant affidavit.

Also in February, Canniff’s girlfriend reported to police that he abducted and physically assaulted her multiple times.

Police conducted another search for weapons at his apartment after he was taken into custody on April 21, and said in the search warrant that it was necessary to do so “for his safety as well as the community’s.”

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