Man arrested for alleged assault at coffee shop

Charges could be filed at hearing today

PORT ANGELES — A Port Angeles man is facing a felony assault charge for allegedly brandishing a knife while wearing a skull mask and threatening a customer at a coffee shop.

Thomas Peelle Peterson, 21, allegedly took a step toward a man while holding a fixed-blade knife at Higher Grounds Espresso at about 11:36 a.m. Saturday before he was chased down West Eighth Street by good Samaritans, Port Angeles police officer Jeffery Ordona said in court papers.

“Peterson fled from the store holding the knife and a bag of money, giving patrons of the drive thru window the impression that he just committed robbery,” Ordona said in the affidavit for probable cause.

“Coffee stand customers pursued Peterson to his mother’s residence where he was taken into custody by responding officers for a bench warrant and assault in the first degree.”

Peterson was arrested without further incident in the 1100 block of West Eighth Street. He is being held in the Clallam County jail on $10,000 bail.

The Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office will consider filing a formal charge against Peterson at his next court appearance at 1 p.m. today.

Grandview Grocery staff provided video surveillance of the alleged assault in the coffee shop, which is inside the same building.

Ordona said Peterson was immediately confronted by a patron who thought Peterson was about to commit a crime.

The man asked Peterson what he was doing, and Peterson replied he was getting food, Ordona said.

Peterson “began stepping toward [the alleged victim] while brandishing the knife, causing [the man] to shuffle backwards away from Peterson,” Ordona said.

A man followed Peterson into his mother’s residence and demanded a bag of money that he believed Peterson took during an armed robbery, Ordona said. The bag contained $48.96.

Peterson is not believed to have taken the money during a robbery, police said.

Peterson told police he went to the store to get food and wore a mask because he didn’t want people to see him.

“Peterson told me he was chased back home by [a man] who demanded his money,” Ordona said.

“Peterson told me he did not want to get beat up and would rather give [the man] his money, so he did.”

Clallam County Superior Court Judge Brian Coughenour granted Prosecuting Attorney Mark Nichols’ request for a $10,000 bail for Peterson.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].

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