Man charged with threatening people with ax in Frick Park
A man with an ax knocked Norman Papernick's water bottle out of his hand and threw a trash can at him “Donkey Kong-style” during a bizarre encounter during the weekend at Frick Park, Papernick and Pittsburgh police said.
“It was a little bit scary, but to me, it was an incredibly random encounter,” Papernick, 37, of Squirrel Hill said on Monday. “He didn't seem to target me as a person. He targeted me as something that he happened upon.”
Papernick was one of two people who reported being attacked by an ax-wielding man on Saturday in Frick Park. Police arrested the man, identified as Frederic Park, 39, on Sunday when they responded to a report of a suspicious person on Beacon Street in Squirrel Hill. Police charged Park, who has been living in Frick, with aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and ethnic intimidation.
Papernick told police he was walking on a path with a friend when a man swung an ax at the water bottle he was carrying.
“My first thought was, ‘Someone is playing a prank and knocked a water bottle out of my hand, how silly,' ” Papernick said, adding that when he picked up the water bottle, Park began following them. “He had this very glassed-over, glazed look on his face. I asked him if there was anything we could do for him. He walked up to a trash can and Donkey Kong-style threw it at me.”
Papernick said he dodged the trash can while his friend called 911.
Also on Saturday, Steven Williams, who is black, told police he was doing pull-ups in Frick when Park called him a racial slur and said “God bless the KKK” before swinging an ax at him, according to a criminal complaint. Park then took off his shirt and walked toward the woods while Williams rode his bike toward the park entrance and dialed 911, police said.
After receiving a warning from the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, the Pittsburgh Trails Advocacy Group posted a message April 19 on its Facebook page about a man with a hatchet threatening people in Frick Park. Pittsburgh police spokeswoman Diane Richard said she could not find previous police reports about the man.
John Kandray, 40, of Regent Square said he filed a police report on Friday after a man he knew to carry an ax threatened to kill him and ran toward him in Frick. Kandray said he's seen the man in the park doing landscaping work for at least a year.
“Most of the time, he didn't seem like he was bothering somebody, except for recently,” Kandray said. “Hopefully, he can get some help.”
Police said Park has been living in the woods in Frick since his father kicked him out of his home several months ago. According to a protection-from-abuse order Park's father filed against him in August, Park has schizophrenia and has been treated at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Oakland.
A judge ordered Park held in the Allegheny County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bond. He has a preliminary hearing scheduled for July 3.
Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8519 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Youthful West Mifflin girls face tall order
- Former member takes reins of chorus
- Steelers stalled by Seahawks, on outside of AFC wild-card picture
- Tarentum Bridge falcon defends turf as eagles scout nesting locations
- Steelers’ Roethlisberger reported symptoms that led to his exit vs. Seahawks
- Korean exhibit to go on display
- Rossi: It’s past time for NFL to protect players
- Deteriorating Monessen building under renewed scrutiny
- Steelers players say they support Tomlin’s attempts at deception
- Holiday spirit shines in Ford City
- Local homes tour will benefit Belle Vernon Area’s anti-drug program