A frightening and somewhat perplexing ordeal in Kingston on Friday night saw a local couple flee from a hatchet-wielding individual, only to be chased by the culprit and another person in a vehicle — all the way to the police station.
On the night of Friday, Aug. 25, 2023, a local man was with his partner in the area of the Cataraqui Canoe Club docks, just north of the Woolen Mill building at the end of Cataraqui Street, along the shore of the inner harbour. The Kingston man, who will remain anonymous, said that at approximately 10:30 p.m. the couple decided to head home. As they got ready to leave in their vehicle, with the Kingston man in the driver’s seat, an individual suddenly appeared on that side of the vehicle. That person was “wielding a hatchet [and] waving his arms,” the local man said, so he “stepped on the gas” to get away from the situation. As he did, the individual with the hatchet struck his vehicle.
According to the local man, just seconds later, the lights on a truck parked perpendicular to his vehicle turned on, and the truck “began accelerating from a stopped position” towards his vehicle. The man said he veered away from the truck, but was struck on the driver’s side of his vehicle. The man manoeuvred his vehicle to continue driving away, but was followed by the truck, he said. At that time, the couple called 911 via a handsfree system and “continued to try to keep space between us and the pursuing truck.” The couple assumed the aggressors were trying to rob or car-jack them, the man shared the following day.
The emergency services operator directed the man to drive to Kingston Police Headquarters, not far away. He did so and, while nearing the police station on Division Street, observed that the truck, which had been following him, turned into an address on the north side of the street. The man said that when he told the 911 operator he was going to turn around to get the licence plate number from the truck, she informed him that the people in the truck had already contacted 911 as well. The man reported he was then even more confused as to what was happening.
“Then I realized they were disposing of the weapon,” the man told Kingstonist.
“I continued to the police station, where I was met with police,” he said. “The truck showed up a few minutes later.”
According to the man, after police took statements from everyone involved, he was informed that one of the people in the truck had claimed the vehicle he was in with his girlfriend belonged to one of them, and that it had been stolen sometime earlier. This is reportedly “why they tried to stop us,” the man shared, noting that the two people in the truck denied any knowledge or involvement of a hatchet.
Further adding to the confusion for the local couple, the two people in the truck had said the stolen vehicle they were referring to was a Toyota Yaris — yet the couple were driving a Ford Fiesta.
The man said that police didn’t seem interested in the hatchet aspect of the incident, despite his telling them where he thought the people in the truck had ditched it. The person wielding the hatchet had been let go by police without charges at that point, according to the man, so he drove to the parking lot he’d seen the truck enter earlier.
“The hatchet was five feet from the road in front of a Tulips and Maple catering truck,” the man reported to Kingstonist.
While picking up the hatchet, the man said, he saw an officer drive by him while he was on the phone with police. The officer returned a few minutes later to retrieve the hatchet, which the man said he saw his assailants coming to retrieve, as well — but they turned away after seeing him there at the site.
According to the man, two people were then arrested by Kingston Police.
In response to Kingstonist inquiries, police confirmed that two individuals were arrested in connection with these incidents. However, asked whether the pair were released from police custody prior to an officer retrieving the hatchet, Const. Ash Gutheinz, Media Relations Officer for Kingston Police, said, “I do not have information that they were released. I would just say that after further investigation, grounds were formed to lay charges.”
Gutheinz further confirmed that one of the accused parties “indicated that he believed that the car was possibly his,” however, “the vehicle belonged to the victim,” Gutheinz said. Police did not mention the suspects ditching the axe along the side of Division Street, nor the suspects striking the victims’ vehicle with their pickup truck
As a result of the police investigation, a 58-year-old local individual was charged with assault with a weapon, and possession of a weapon dangerous to the public peace. Additionally, the 51-year-old local individual who was operating the pickup truck was charged with careless driving. The 58-year-old was held at Kingston Police Headquarters, but was later released on conditions with a future court date, police said.