Man jailed after throwing axe at officer

SEBASTIAN — A 61-year-old man who police said threw an axe at an officer during a foot chase, was jailed last week. The officer ducked down to avoid being hit by the weapon, reports show.

John Blaine Hartman

John Blaine Hartman, of the 400 block of Georgia Boulevard, Sebastian, was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on a law enforcement officer. Hartman was released Sunday from the Indian River County Jail on $3,500 bond.

“I observed Hartman bend down and pick up an axe where he raised the axe over his head and threw it at me,” the officer said in the arrest report. “I was in fear the axe Hartman threw would strike me and cause great bodily harm or death to myself, forcing me to duck down to keep (from) being struck.”

The incident unfolded about 6 p.m. July 29 when Sebastian police responded to reports of a possible business burglary at Church at the Cross on South Wimbrow Drive. An employee dialed 911 after Hartman, who also worked at the church, showed up wearing black underwear and no other clothing, reports show.

The employee told police Hartman had permission to be at the church at the time, but also said Hartman’s behavior was out of character, officials said. An officer arrived at the scene and saw Hartman running north away from the church.

Hartman ran across the church field and onto the front yard of his nearby home, with the officer trailing behind on foot, authorities said. The law enforcement official was standing between a trailer along with another vehicle, unable to move from side-to-side, when Hartman hurled the axe toward the officer, reports show.

Hartman then hid behind an overgrown bush in the front yard. Additional officers arrived on scene and detained Hartman.

Hartman was arrested and booked into the county jail. Hartman was due in mental health court at 2 p.m. Tuesday and has an arraignment at 8:45 a.m. Sept. 15, court records show.

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