BCSO: Man wielded pickax in dispute

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SANDPOINT — A Clark Fork man was arrested Sunday morning for allegedly attacking a neighbor with a pickax-like implement during an altercation.

Michael Phillip Baker is charged with aggravated assault. He made an initial appearance in Bonner County Magistrate Court on Monday, where Judge Tera Harden sustained his $20,000 bail and entered an order forbidding him from contacting the alleged victim in the case.

Sheriff’s deputies were summoned to the 400 block of West Fourth Avenue shortly before 10 a.m. for a report of a weapons offense. The alleged victim told deputies he got into a verbal argument with Baker outside their homes and he was threatened with a folding knife.

“You remember Mr. Buck,” the man quoted Baker and saying when he allegedly brandished the knife.

Baker, 58, sped off in a vehicle, but returned and the argument escalated further, according to a probable cause affidavit. Baker took up a pickax-like implement and the alleged victim armed himself with a shovel to defend himself.

The alleged victim began to backpedal while Baker allegedly advanced on him yelling about the Hell’s Angels motorcycle club, the affidavit said. Baker allegedly used the pickax to strike the blade of the shovel held by the alleged victim.

The parties disengaged and there were no reports of bloodshed. However, the alleged victim reasonable believed that violence was imminent, according to court documents.

Witnesses who saw the altercation corroborated the alleged victim’s version of events, court records indicate. One witnesses reported seeing Baker remove a protective end cap from the implement and swing on the alleged victim twice.

Surveillance camera footage further corroborated witness accounts of the altercation, according to court documents.

Baker invoked his right to an attorney and declined to be interviewed by deputies, court records show.

Baker was charged with aggravated assault and misdemeanor assault in Ponderay in 2016, according to the Idaho Supreme Court Data Repository. The felony assault charge was amended to a misdemeanor and he was given mostly suspended jail sentences.

A preliminary hearing in the case is set for Jan. 31.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at kkinnaird@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.

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