Cane allegedly used as "dangerous weapon"

One man had a knife, the other had a cane. Guess which one was arrested for assault with a dangerous weapon?

A Niles man faces felony assault charges and up to four years in prison for allegedly using his cane as a dangerous weapon.

52-year old Rex Carpenter is disabled and says he was doing nothing more than defending himself against an assailant with a knife.

The Incident in question occurred in Berrien County and apparently began as a case of road rage.

There were no witnesses. That meant police had to sort out the statements of the two men involved.

Rex Carpenter indicates that he may have been following a little close as he repeatedly tried to pass the car in front of him on the day in question.

Still, he never expected to see—what he says he saw—when the two cars were finally side by side.

“He had a knife and he took it and imagine this being the knife,” Rex said as he used his cane to demonstrate. “He took it and he shook it at me like this and started pointing at me like he was going to, trying to intimidate me like he was going to cut me.”

It was one thing when the threat took place among men in moving cars out on the open road.

It was another when Rex arrived at his intended destination—the parking of a Berrien County business—and left the safety of his passenger compartment.

“I pulled into my parking space and when I got out of the car, I noticed that he had pulled up directly behind my vehicle,” Carpenter said.

What happened next left a dent in Rex’s cane.

At the time Carpenter believed the swings he took kept him out of trouble. Weeks after his actions, criminal charges were filed and Rex was arrested. The charge was assault with a dangerous weapon. The dangerous weapon in question was his cane.

“The other young man said, admitted that he followed me into the parking lot, admitted that he had a knife,” said Carpenter. “But I’m the one getting arrested. I just don’t understand, that is ludicrous.”

The police paperwork does mention a folding pocket knife with a 2 ½ inch blade. The other man, 25-year old Joshua Smith of Watervliet does admit he had the knife, and that he did display the knife. The paperwork does not make clear if the knife was in Smith’s hand during the confrontation in the parking lot.

What is clear, is that Rex Carpenter has a mug shot on file at the Berrien County Jail, and future court appearances to make.

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