NEW PORT RICHEY — A paralyzed woman confronted a knife-carrying man who was belligerently yelling at Christian demonstrators outside a Wells Fargo, leading to the man’s arrest, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said.
Witnesses told the sheriff’s office that a group of demonstrators from King James Version Baptist Church in New Port Richey were holding signs outside the Wells Fargo at State Road 54 and Madison Street around 8 p.m., Aug. 1, a sheriff’s report said.
“They were just there on the sidewalk, holding signs that said: ‘Repent For Your Sins’ and ‘Jesus Is Coming,’ ” said Lisa DeBeaumont, who wanted to use the bank’s ATM that evening.
“A lot of these were senior citizens, elderly people in their 70s and 80s,” she said.
When she pulled into the bank, DeBeaumont, 48, said she saw 6-foot-4, 230-pound Jonathon Kendrick, 23, aggressively berating an older man.
“He had that man backed up against the curb, where he could almost fall into the traffic” on S.R. 54, she said.
DeBeaumont, whose arm is paralyzed from a 2000 motorcycle crash, said that when she hollered for Kendrick to leave demonstrators alone, he turned his attention on her.
She said he got more upset when he noticed her giving his license plate information to law enforcement over the phone.
When Kendrick threatened her with a six-inch pocket knife, she told him she had a gun, said DeBeaumont, who was bluffing.
“I didn’t know what else to do,” she said. “I just said I was going to shoot, or whatever I could think of. He walked around in a circle, threw his hands up and got in his car.”
Kendrick, of 4124 Las Vegas Drive, was arrested Friday and charged with aggravated assault, the sheriff’s office said. Kendrick’s address is near the bank, but the vehicle in which he fled was a rental car with Virginia plates, the sheriff’s office said.
Kendrick was released from the Land O’ Lakes Jail on Sunday after posting $1,000 bail, records show.
Sheriff’s spokesman Eddie Daniels said such situations are unique. He said the sheriff’s office “encourages everybody to do what’s safest and call for help.”
“He was aggressively nose-to-nose with them. That’s why I got involved,” DeBeaumont said. “That was my main concern. They didn’t do anything wrong. Some of these people were old enough to be his great-grandparents.”