WENATCHEE – A citizen intervened in an assault and possible attempted robbery in Wenatchee on Thursday afternoon.
According to Capt. Edgar Reinfeld of the Wenatchee Police Department, the incident occurred at approximately 12:23 p.m. at the 76 filling station in the 200 block of Ferry Street when a man entered the store and tried to purchase alcohol using only his state-issued ID card.
The store clerk told authorities the man seemed intoxicated and that after she refused to complete the transaction with him, that he opened the packaging of the product he was attempting to purchase and threw either a can or a bottle at the clerk, hitting her in the head before going behind the counter and further assaulting her.
The assailant then left the store with the clerk following close behind and calling out for help. At that moment, a civilian bystander who was in the parking lot exited his vehicle with his personal firearm and proceeded to detain the suspect at gunpoint until police arrived.
Reinfeld said the store clerk had no “obvious signs of significant injury,” and was treated at the scene, while the suspect was transported to Central Washington Hospital with injuries he allegedly sustained while being apprehended by the bystander.
Charges against the suspect are still in the process of being determined, but Reinfeld said he is definitely facing at least one count of assault on the clerk, and possibly another on the bystander, as well as potential attempted-robbery charges. He will be booked into the Chelan County Regional Justice Center once discharged from the hospital.
Reinfeld could not identify any of the individuals involved at this point, but did indicate that the citizen bystander is a white, Wenatchee-area male.
Although the actions of the bystander could easily be considered heroic, Reinfeld offered a note of caution to the public about such citizen interventions.
“We can’t do our work without the help of citizens like him,” remarked Reinfeld. “What kind of help they choose to provide is where it can get weird. Interceding in things like these can be exceedingly dangerous and scores of civilians die in incidents such as this one every year across the nation.”
“In this case it all turned out ok,” continued Reinfeld. “It’s a personal choice how deeply any civilian wants to involve themselves when something like this happens, but we always need information from the public, so folks don’t need to go to measures like this to be of assistance. Sometimes when citizens become too involved in can turn out terribly tragic, however, so we’d like to caution the public to be prepared to make a smart decision in the event they find themselves involved in a case like this.”