A Centralia man accused of swinging a handsaw at a family celebrating the Fourth of July in a Chehalis parking lot Monday night was arrested after a member of the family pulled a gun on the defendant while others disarmed him and held him down until law enforcement arrived.
The family, which included children, were reportedly “enjoying the various Fourth of July fireworks that were being set off” in the parking lot of Yard Birds, located at 2100 North National Ave. in Chehalis, when at approximately 10:30 p.m., a “male driving a dark colored pickup truck … (drove) through the parking lot at a high rate of speed,” according to court documents.
One member of the family called for the driver to slow down, at which point “the driver made a right-hand turn, almost hitting objects on the ground, then swerved to a stop.”
Another man, who was later identified as Manuel DJ Zavala-Martinez, 37, then allegedly jumped out of the bed of the truck holding “what appeared to be a large knife” and began approaching the family.
The object was later identified as a 8- to 12-inch saw, of the type used to cut tree branches,” according to court documents. “The saw had a serrated edge and was very sharp.”
Zavala-Martinez allegedly swung the saw at the man who had called for the pickup to stop. The man told police he “backed away to keep from getting struck with the saw blade” then “drew his own concealed pistol and ordered the suspect to the ground.”
The man and two other members of his family then “disarmed the suspect and held him until law enforcement arrived,” according to court documents.
Meanwhile, the driver of the pickup fled in another vehicle, leaving the pickup behind.
“It is unknown at this time who aided the driver,” according to court documents.
Zavala-Martinez was booked into the Lewis County Jail just before 10:35 p.m. on July 4 and has since been charged with one count of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon.
Zavala-Martinez’s preliminary appearance hearing in Lewis County Superior Court was initially scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, but due to Zavala-Martinez’s insistence that he didn’t understand what he was being charged with, the hearing was delayed until Wednesday to give Defense Attorney Rachael Tiller another chance to explain the charges and Zavala-Martinez's rights.
While bail was set at $200,000 overnight, Judge J. Andrew Toynbee reduced the bail to $25,000 on Wednesday after Tiller explained Zavala-Martinez’s financial situation.
“While I do understand that this is a serious offense, he is at this time presumed innocent and taking his indigent status into account, I believe that ($25,000) amount is sufficient to secure his return to court and provide for community safety,” Toynbee explained on Wednesday.
Zavala-Martinez’s next court appearance is an arraignment hearing scheduled for July 14.