EDMONDS — A customer who confronted two men entering an Edmonds supermarket without masks ended up in jail and accused of two counts of assault.
The Shoreline man, 29, allegedly squirted dog repellent in the eyes of one of the customers and threatened the other with a knife, according to Edmonds police.
Police were called around 10:15 p.m. Saturday to the dispute outside a Safeway on Highway 99. Confrontations over masks during the COVID-19 pandemic have erupted nationwide in recent months. Washington’s no-mask, no-service law took effect in July.
An Everett man said the suspect yelled at him and his friend as they entered the store, but they ignored him.
After shopping, he noticed the man waiting outside as he left the store, according to court records. That’s when, he said, he was squirted in his eyes before running to his car to get away.
The suspect was waiting for the second man to leave the store, according to the police report. As the Seattle man headed out the front door of the store, he said, he noticed the suspect holding a knife by his side. Moments later, he said, the suspect asked him if he “wanted more” while lifting the knife toward him. The Seattle man said he was scared he would be stabbed.
“He made gestures and started threatening the victim,” said Edmonds police Sgt. Josh McClure.
Witnesses said they watched the suspect chase the man while armed with the knife.
Police provided the man who endured the spray repellent a jug of water to decontaminate his eyes. He also was checked by medics at the scene.
Police arrested the suspect for investigation of second-degree assault for the incident with the knife and third-degree assault for using the repellent, which caused “considerable suffering,” court records said. They also seized a folding pocket knife as evidence.
The suspect had already been asked by a store employee to leave the property before he confronted the mask-less men, McClure said.
A Breathalyzer test showed he had been drinking and that his blood alcohol level was slightly below the threshold for legal intoxication, the police report said.
Bail was set at $20,000.
Eric Stevick: email@example.com.