Archive for Thursday, April 15, 2010

Prosecutors charge Lawrence man with aggravated assault in connection with Wednesday’s incident downtown

The Lawrence police arrive to take Steven J. Vincent, a Lawrence transient who police said threatened restaurant patrons with a railroad spike Wednesday evening in downtown Lawrence, into custody. Craig Hoffman subdued Vincent until police were on the scene.

The Lawrence police arrive to take Steven J. Vincent, a Lawrence transient who police said threatened restaurant patrons with a railroad spike Wednesday evening in downtown Lawrence, into custody. Craig Hoffman subdued Vincent until police were on the scene.

April 15, 2010


Suspect charged with assault for downtown incident

A 24-year-old homeless man threatened Free State Brewery patrons with a railroad spike. Enlarge video

Douglas County prosecutors have filed charges against a 24-year-old man who police said threatened restaurant patrons with a railroad spike Wednesday evening in downtown Lawrence.

The Lawrence resident who jumped on top of the suspect to subdue him until police could get there said he was protecting his friends.

According to district court records, Steven J. Vincent, who police identified as a transient, faces charges of aggravated assault and criminal damage to property. Vincent was scheduled to have a first appearance in court Thursday afternoon.

Lawrence police gave an account of events Wednesday evening. Police said the suspect had been walking down Massachusetts Street, approached some men outside Free State Brewing Co., 636 Mass., and asked if he could have a beer or cigarette.

When they refused, the suspect became belligerent, produced what turned out to be a railroad spike and threatened people with it. After the patrons talked him down, the suspect eventually turned around, as if he was going to attack someone, but instead he was tackled by Craig Hoffman, who held him down until police arrived on the scene and took Vincent into custody.

Hoffman, a 49-year-old self-employed contractor, on Thursday deferred description of the events to police.

“Free State is a local community on its own. I have a lot of close friends here, and I was just helping protect what is close to me,” Hoffman said.


Deb Engstrom 8 years ago

Why not just give him a beer and a cigarette??

1southernjayhawk 8 years ago

Because that would just enable him to continue the bad behavior. Maybe you could look him up at the jail and invite him over to your residence for a smoke and a cold one once he's back on the street.

Deb Engstrom 8 years ago

I don't smoke or drink, but I would have given him a beer and a cigarette in exchange for the railroad spike and it would have been a much safer situation for everyone.

jimmyjms 8 years ago

WTF are you talking about gramps? Get the **** out of here with this bs.

terrapin2 8 years ago

Liberal elite at Free State? Arrogant, foreign, professional types? I guess I'd better walk on the other side of Mass Street when I pass by FSB from now on! The liberal elite might suck me in and try to convert me! Just exactly what type of person do you think should be allowed to eat and drink at FSB? Oh, nevermind. I'll just try to appreciate the irony of your narrow-minded comments regarding patrons of a brewery/restaurant called FREE STATE!!!

dontcallmedan 8 years ago

40--please, please stay away from Free State.

bearded_gnome 8 years ago

a medal for Craig Hoffman!

so, was Vincent attracted to this community by the drunken/druggie shelter? does it help maintain him in his current lifestyle?
bill them for his care while he's a guest of the county.

and as I wrote on the first article: it is a good thing Vincent wasn't a wilding black teen, else Hoffman would be called a racist bigot. [note, see recent kansas city news]

LG40 is a complete troll but if you read into his post, you see that apparently spikeboy has been a problem downtown for some time.
LG40 is likely still sore because the local police caught him committing a crime and hauled him away. his posts almost always communicate hatred of the police, and paranoid suspicion of their actions.

PebblesFlintstone 8 years ago

"Why not just give him a beer and a cigarette??"

Um...because I worked for money to buy my own beer (and cigarettes, when I smoked)?

When they tried to make panhandling illegal, somebody had a weepy quote in the paper that it was a transient's RIGHT to ask others downtown for money and it was the askee's RIGHT to not give it to the asker. Does that not apply now? It's some violent whack job's RIGHT to ask for beer and cigarettes, but if a Free State patron exercises their RIGHT to not give him anything, then it's VWJ's RIGHT to pull out a railroad spike and threaten patrons? I don't get it.

nekansan 8 years ago

Sounds like if anything, the LPD were too laid back in dealing with the guy. If your response to being told no by the mean scary arrogant, foreign, professional types on the front porch at Free State is to come that them with a railroad spike any attention you previously derived from the police was likely justified. If anything the homeless community should self police and get boneheads like Vincent off Mass street because it is incidents like this that seriously erode the sympathy for their plight and foster the intolerance of their begging and behavior downtown.

homechanger 8 years ago

Deb engstrom is part of the problem. Why give him anything. What does he deserve? Why do we have to help him get and stay drunk an high?deb help the poor guy out when he is released back to the drop in shelter and let him crash at your place!

CreatureComforts 8 years ago

Homeless people are those who are down on their luck, from the area, seeking what they need to get by. Transients move from place to place, looking for the biggest payout without having to do a thing. Lawrence is a transient haven because they give them everything they want and ask for nothing back.

devobrun 8 years ago

Mental health issue, Big_B, is the issue in virtually all LPD interactions.

The definition of civil behavior has expanded to include that which resulted in death a few decades ago. But there are still limits. Threatening with a steel weapon is still in the realm of bad behavior.

Every now and then, somebody pushes the envelope and gets hammered. Not that big of a deal.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

"The definition of civil behavior has expanded to include that which resulted in death a few decades ago."

Can you be specific?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

"The definition of civil behavior has expanded to include that which resulted in death a few decades ago."

You mean like when a black man dated a white woman?

CreatureComforts 8 years ago

Ah ha, my response to edjayhawk used the word "haven" too, without even going further down the comments to read yours. Hmmm, a couple of tax payers using the term "transient haven" to discuss Lawrence...that can't be good.

Jonathan Kealing 8 years ago

Sorry guys. We get spammers every day, I just usually catch them before they get setup. Was teaching a class in Ottawa and the drive back has very spotty Internet and cell phone service. User's gone now.

independant1 8 years ago

While begging is not a crime, it is an occupation for some.

This guy obviously went off. It wasn't pretty and now it's up to the criminal justice system and social services. The question is, "What will his behavior be if/when he comes back?

Make crime pay. Become a lawyer. (Will Rogers)

matthewjherbert 8 years ago

I'm glad to see that our Craig Hoffman is fighting against our victim culture. Stand up for yourselves people- don't be intimidated by fools. That's a wonderful thing that is diminishing rapidly not only in this community but in this country. In a country where airplanes can be hijacked with little more than a box knife we need more Craig Hoffman types!

CLARKKENT 8 years ago



CreatureComforts 8 years ago

You can tell Hoffman is a contractor, because he subdued that guy like a stud.

BruceWayne 8 years ago

edjayhawk (anonymous) says… Whats the difference between a homeless person and a transient?

homeless person: someone, that due to circumstances has lost their home. in need of a "shelter" at night to sleep and shower. takes advantage of the tools and services available to get a new start on life.

transient: someone chased out of most other cities for violating panhandling laws. heard from another bum about Lawrence Kansas.

it is time for Mayor Mike and the minions to act. The work at the airport...farmland industries...all to draw business and jobs to our once fine city. Business and customers are being driven away daily by our transient population. How many police man hours are spent a week on this problem? Read the book in log...appears a majority of the officers time is spent dealing with the it. It is up to our elected officials to rid Lawrence of this filth .If they wont you will see more and more Craig Hoffmans step up.

4everahawk 8 years ago

BruceWayne: Well stated and I completely agree.

naturalist 8 years ago

Don't mess with the peeps on the porch! Nice going, Jeff.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

Craig Hoffman didn't do what he did because this guy is a transient or homeless (no matter how you want to semantically parse the difference.) He did it because the guy was physically threatening him and the other patrons on the Free State porch.

Michael Throop 8 years ago

I hate to bring this up, but in this day and age, Mr. Hoffman had better retain a lawyer. The public defender and/or the ACLU may try to sue him on Vicent's behalf for "vigilante" activities. Mr. Hoffman should make absolutely certain he's got the law on his side on this one. Just sayin'

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

" The public defender and/or the ACLU may try to sue him on Vicent's behalf for "vigilante" activities."

Not gonna happen, but at least you seized the moment for a gratuitous jab at the ACLU and public defenders.

Flap Doodle 8 years ago

At least he didn't call the ACLU a bunch of idiots.........

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

Your point being? (Or is the point merely to demonstrate, yet again, that you can't differentiate between those who are idiots, and those who aren't.)

Flap Doodle 8 years ago

If you call someone an idiot, you lose your seat on the high horse. That pointy enough for you?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

If an elected official does something idiotic, especially in their official capacity, I'll call him an idiot. No high horse required.

adastraphile 8 years ago

For your information, I witnessed the entire event, and this moron Stevie, or "Horse S*&%" as he is most well known, was belligerent and demanding when trying to procure a smoke and beer, and totally deserves whatever the judicial system deems necessary, probably more. I applaud Craig for his actions and plan on buying him a couple beers in appreciation the next time I see him. And as far as Phil is concerned, he had nothing to do with this incident. You are probably just bitter because you did something stupid or disrespectful to the business or its patrons (or didn't take a shower, Pig Pen), and he did his job and asked you to leave. So I guess I'll just have to buy Phil a beer as well.

Tom McCune 8 years ago

This guy's street name will be "Spike" for years ever after.

kthxbi 8 years ago

wow, I hope one day your true name ends up in a story on the ljworld. It will be interesting to see what anonymous commentors have to say about you.

kthxbi 8 years ago

I think I made other plans that day...but thanks.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

"Hoffman's frequent enough belligerent attitude with fellow patrons is well known but dysfunctionally tolerated."

Well known to whom?

Tom McCune 8 years ago

Lawrence was a much better place to live when our boys in blue used guys like "Spike" for baton practice.

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