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Elderly Florida Man Yelled at 11-Year-Old, Threatened Him With Knife for Riding Bike on Sidewalk: Police

Florida Man Accused of Threatening Kid on Bike With Hunting Knife
Source: Unsplash; Winter Springs Police Department

Richard Shafer charged with aggravated assault after threatening boy riding his bicycle on sidewalk, police said.

Apr. 13 2024, Published 2:05 p.m. ET

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An elderly Florida man has been arrested after police say he allegedly yelled at an 11-year-old boy riding his bike on the sidewalk and pointed a hunting knife at the boy’s chest.

On April 9, Richard Shafer, 73, reportedly became angry because the child was riding his bike on the sidewalk and not in the bike lane in the street, Winter Springs Police Lt. Shaun Philbrook told WESH.

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The boy’s mother, Tina Commesso, told WESH that her son got home and told her “he thought he was going to die.”

Police said the fifth graders was riding his bike on the sidewalk when Schafer, who was also on the sidewalk, confronted him.

Shafer allegedly confronted the boy with a hunting knife. Commesso said her son “just put his hands up and said, ‘I’m so sorry,’” and quickly rode his bike home.

The boy was able to give police a description of the man and they were quickly able to locate Shafer, who told police he felt threatened by the boy and he was going to hit him with the bike.

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Philbrook said “there was no indication the bike made any overt movements or drove directly at him.”

When talking with Shafer, police said they found the hunting knife, but he also was legally carrying a gun, but did not use it to threaten the child.

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Commesso said it was concerning and, “I don't know someone would be walking through Tuskawilla with a gun and a hunting knife in the middle of the day.”

Police did say that riding a bike on the sidewalk is perfectly legal in the city.

Shafer was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, officials said.


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