Pierce County store owner beaten after asking men not to harass woman


Two men are accused of beating a Pierce County convenience store owner after he asked them not to harass a female customer, leaving him with a broken rib and facial fractures that required surgery, court records show.

On Friday, prosecutors charged the men, one 37 and one 33, with first-degree assault, first-degree robbery and third-degree malicious mischief.

Pleas of not guilty were entered on the 37-year-old man's behalf at arraignment in Pierce County Superior Court. Court Commissioner Barbara McInvaille ordered him jailed in lieu of $250,000 bail.

An arrest warrant was issued for the other man but revoked the same day. It is unclear from court records if he has been arrested.

The incident occurred March 12 about 4 p.m. at Johnson's Corner Grocery & Grill, 30401 Mountain Highway E. in Graham.

Charging documents give this account:

The men walked into the store and allegedly harassed a female customer who was leaving. The 68-year-old business owner asked them not to do that.

The men then brought a gallon water jug to the counter, and the owner told them he'd let them have it at no charge if they'd leave. One then grabbed an energy drink and asked, "What about this?", records show.

The owner took the energy drink from the counter and asked them again to leave.

That's when one of the men punched him, sparking a beating from both men, one of whom threw the water jug at him, striking him in the head.

"They both then started punching him, breaking his rib while doing so," records show. "When asked about his injuries, the victim said he had a broken rib, broken nose, and broken cheek bone. He said his vision is blurred and he still can't breathe out of his right nostril. He said that he underwent facial surgery at Harborview."

At one point, the owner grabbed a golf club to try to defend his wife and himself and got in a shot, hitting one of the men in the arm. The other ran behind the counter, records show, and "put the victim in a headlock with his left arm. He then punched the victim in his face with his right fist multiple times."

The men then grabbed the water jug and the energy drink and started to leave, but they walked back to the front door where they both punched the owner again and smashed his phone on the ground before getting into a pickup.

"Both defendants fled the area, leaving the victim bleeding on the ground outside the front door," records show.

A detective said he tried to contact the victim in April but was advised by his daughter that the man "had several bone fractures in his face and could not speak," records show. It was early May before he could give an interview, the records say.

Detectives used the truck's registration, video surveillance and other evidence to identify the suspects. They arrested the 37-year-old man at his home in Spanaway without incident, court records show.


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