BOARDMAN - A Salem resident apparently escaped critical injury after being stabbed during a dispute with a Youngstown man over a handicapped parking space outside the Boardman Walmart at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
According to a Boardman Township police report, Ernest Lee Thomas, 50, of Salem-Alliance Road, suffered a 1-inch wide stab wound to the left shoulder which St. Elizabeth Hospital staff in Youngstown advised was non-life threatening and only required stitches.
Darrell E. Peterman, 51, of Youngstown, was arraigned Tuesday in Mahoning County Court in Boardman on felony charges of felonious assault and tampering with evidence related to the incident. Bond was set at $50,000 cash or surety, with a preliminary hearing set for 10:30 a.m. Jan. 14 before Judge Joseph Houser.
Thomas told Boardman police he had parked in a handicap spot at Walmart and saw a car illegally parked between the handicap spots, remarking to his wife, Louise V., "I guess people cannot park legally any more."
At that time, the driver of the car, later identified as Peterman, came out of the store and overheard what Thomas said and started arguing with him. Thomas said the other man threatened him numerous times and ran at him in an aggressive manner. Thomas sprayed him with pepper spray and Peterman continued running at him, striking him in the left shoulder and back.
The report said Thomas backed away and realized Peterman had a knife and had stabbed him, causing him to draw his firearm. Peterman ran into the store with the knife and Thomas remained outside and called 911. He was unable to provide a description of his attacker, saying it happened so fast.
Peterman approached officers in the store entrance and said he was involved, telling police he and the other man began to argue over the parking space and the man called him a derogatory name, pulled a knife on him and threatened him.
According to what Peterman told police, he rushed Thomas and disarmed him, then he ran towards Walmart to get away from Thomas and heard the man yell to call the cops because he was stabbed. He said he did not stab Thomas and did not know how it happened.
Police found the knife in the layaway department after reviewing video footage which showed Peterman throwing something there. Video surveillance footage showed the two men arguing in the parking lot, then showed them running at each other and then Peterman running into the store.
The police report said cell phone video obtained from a witness showed Peterman in his vehicle with the driver's side door open and one leg hanging out and Thomas standing next to the vehicle. in the video, Peterman got out of the car and ran at Thomas and Thomas sprayed him with the pepper spray. Peterman then struck Thomas twice in the left shoulder and Thomas backed away. He then ran toward the front of the store with Peterman running after him, drew his gun and pointed it at Peterman who then ran out of view.
The report said Peterman could be seen in the video holding a black knife in his right hand. He was placed in custody for the two charges.
When police first arrived on the scene, Thomas advised them he was carrying a pistol, but had a valid conceal carry permit.