Transient Aspen man arrested for felony menacing with a hatchet for the second time
For the second time in a year and a half, an Aspen transient was arrested Friday for brandishing a hatchet at fellow residents of the Intercept Lot, according to court documents and statements in court Monday.
Justin Schaaf, 35, was charged with felony menacing after two other men who live in their vehicles at the park-and-ride lot at Brush Creek Road and Highway 82 called 911 to report that he was “waving a hatchet around,” according to an affidavit filed in Pitkin County District Court.
Both men, however, showed up Monday at Schaaf’s advisement hearing in District Court and said Schaaf was a good friend of theirs and they didn’t want to press charges against him. One told Magistrate Judge Susan Ryan that Schaaf had been “under an extreme amount of stress” lately and that they’d never had problems before.
“I don’t think he meant to do what he did,” the man said.
“We all live at the Intercept Lot and try to coexist,” the other man said. “I don’t think he needs to be removed from the community.”
On Friday, the two men told Pitkin County sheriff’s deputies that Schaaf had called and wanted them to return a fuel can and a broom they’d borrowed, according to the affidavit. The men walked across the parking lot to return the items Friday night, but Schaaf began to yell at them when they got close, saying they shouldn’t take things that weren’t theirs, the affidavit states.
“(The two men) said Schaaf then began to wave a small hatchet at them in a threatening manner,” according to the affidavit.
Schaaf told deputies he’d been having trouble getting the men to return the items they borrowed, but said he’d gotten rid of the hatchet a long time ago, the affidavit states. He also smelled of alcohol, which violated a protection order that had previously been filed against him, according to the affidavit.
On Monday, Schaaf asked Ryan for a personal recognizance bond so he could take care of his 12-year-old son and his dog. Ryan, however, denied the request and ordered him held in lieu of a $1,500 bond.
Schaaf also was arrested for brandishing a hatchet against three other men in October 2016 at the Intercept Lot. He later told The Aspen Times he picked up the hatchet in self-defense. The charges in that case were later dropped, according to court records.
Schaaf pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault last year in connection with an incident in February 2016 at the fire pit near the Information Booth in downtown Aspen. Schaaf told police at the time he and another man were trying to stop a 60-year-old man from driving when the assault occurred.
The greater community is invited to join a Celebration of Pepi’s Life on Friday, Sept. 20, at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater.