Police: Hatchet-wielding Red Lion man sprayed cop with pepper spray

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
Joel Edward Kirckhoff

A hatchet-wielding man sprayed a state police trooper with pepper spray at the Red Lion home of his former girlfriend, according to police.

Joel Edward Kirckhoff, 31, is free on $20,000 bail, charged with felony aggravated assault, the misdemeanors of simple assault, making terroristic threats, possession of a controlled substance, possession of a small amount of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. He also is cited with the summary offenses of harassment and disorderly conduct.

He declined comment on Friday, July 19.

Charging documents state that two troopers went to the home of Kirckhoff's then-girlfriend in the 100 block of North Main Street about 9 a.m. July 10 to check on her welfare.

That's because at her place of work, she had left a note that dealt with domestic issues she was having at home, police said.

She told police she had given Kirckhoff a typed note July 9 ordering him to leave her apartment but that he had not left, according to charging documents.

As the troopers spoke with the woman on her porch, Kirckhoff slammed the front door and locked it, police said.

The woman used her key to unlock the door, but Kirckhoff responded by trying to close it again to keep troopers from going inside, documents state.

Trooper sprayed: Kirckhoff — wielding a hatchet in one hand — used his other hand to spray pepper spray at the troopers, police allege.

Trooper Mikhail Watson was sprayed in the head, documents state.

Both he and Trooper Dylan Busse continued to push their way inside, at which point Kirckhoff dropped the hatchet and pepper spray and ran into a different room, according to documents.

He then followed commands as the troopers arrested him, police said.

After obtaining a search warrant, troopers seized the hatchet, the pepper spray canister, marijuana, hallucinogenic mushrooms, THC wax, a digital scale and a water pipe, according to charging documents, which state the drugs and paraphernalia belonged to Kirckhoff.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.