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Skateboards wielded in self defense

A homeless man has been charged in connection with a running fight involving a knife and skateboards wielded as weapons, court documents show.

Prosecutors charged Matthew Stratton, 18, in Island County Superior Court Aug. 22 with two counts of assault in the second degree with a deadly weapon and one count of theft in the second degree.

He pleaded not guilty Sept. 2.

Stratton is identified in court papers as a transient living in the Oak Harbor area.

Oak Harbor Police Officer Jennifer Rutledge responded to a report of an assault on E. Whidbey Avenue Aug. 19. She contacted a 25-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy who had been chasing the suspect.

The two skateboarders said they confronted Stratton at the Skate Park about stealing a wallet. They claimed that Stratton admitted to stealing the wallet, but then pulled a knife and threatened to “dust them,” the report states.

Stratton ran and the two skateboarders followed, using their skateboards to ward off the knife attacks, Rutledge wrote. The 25-year-old man sustained a cut on his thumb.

One of several witnesses to the fight said the alleged victims were “poking” at Stratton with their skateboards to knock the knife away, the report states. Two witnesses intervened and stopped the fight.

Rutledge wrote that Stratton admitted to using methamphetamine.

“During the booking process, he was semi-coherent and combative with the jailers,” the reports said.

If convicted of the charges, Stratton could face a sentence of 13 to 17 months in prison under the standard sentencing range.

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