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Worthington man faces assault, terroristic threat charges

WORTHINGTON -- A Worthington man is facing charges of assault with a dangerous weapon and terroristic threat stemming from an altercation outside the Worthington Municipal Liquor Store Saturday.

John Lee Saenz, 21, is charged with two counts of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, terroristic threats and furnishing alcohol to a minor.

The complaint states a man came out of the liquor store and saw a man, later identified as Saenz, talking to his girlfriend, who was in their vehicle with their children. The man said he asked Saenz not to speak to his girlfriend, and Saenz started to threaten him, showing both a red bat and a 12-inch knife.

The man got in his car and drove away, Saenz allegedly followed him. A short time after authorities took the report, Saenz was located. He admitted to having an altercation, but denied having a knife.

In a recorded statement, Saenz said he went to the liquor store with three guys, who he bought beer for, even though they were underage. He said he talked to the woman because she used to be his neighbor, but her boyfriend came out and threatened him. He admitted he had a red bat over his shoulder and told the man he had knives, but that he was not going to use them.

Saenz said he followed the man to try to get him to pull over and talk about it, then his friends told him to forget about it, so he quit following the vehicle.

A knife was found in his possession, and a breath sample yielded a result of .097 alcohol concentration.

Statements from the man who reported the incident were taken. He said Saenz threatened to have his "homies" beat him up, then went to the passenger side of his SUV and took out the bat. He allegedly pulled out a knife and had it tucked under his armpit, and said he was going to cut the man and his family. During a search of the SUV by authorities, three more knives were found.

An officer spoke with the juvenile who had been driving the SUV when the incident occurred. The witness said someone confronted Saenz when he came out of the liquor store, then Saenz lifted up his shirt and revealed a red bat. He also had a kitchen knife in his pocket, the witness alleged.

If convicted on all charges, Saenz faces a maximum combined penalty of 20 years incarceration and/or $41,000 in fines.