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.