Douglas County prosecutors Monday charged two Lawrence men who were arrested Sunday afternoon for allegedly confronting and threatening construction workers who were remodeling an adjacent business near Sixth Street and Kasold Drive.
According to court records, prosecutors charged the two suspects with aggravated assault, Ba T. Mai, 40, and Hiep Thanh Nguyen, 34. Mai was also charged with misdemeanor criminal damage to property. Sgt. Trent McKinley, a Lawrence police spokesman, said the incident occurred after contractors working inside a suite in the strip mall accidentally broke a water line. The workers had gone to a hardware store to make the fix and had to turn off the water line for the repair.
McKinley said it appeared the water issue affected another business at the shopping center, and while contractors were performing the repair inside the business Mai, who as associated with a nearby business, came inside the area being remodeled and allegedly assaulted or threatened the workers with a claw hammer.
The incident did not have to do with any street construction in the area, the sergeant said.
“One of the suspects was yelling about the water being turned off and that it had to be turned back on because they needed it for their customers,” McKinley said.
A box fan set up inside the business was damaged during the incident, and one suspect, Nguyen, allegedly picked up a two-by-four from inside the work site and “used it in a menacing, threatening fashion,” McKinley said.