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Man with meat cleaver terrorizes motorists, shoppers

Brian Quaschnick (Clatsop County Jail)
By Cindy Yingst, Wednesday, February 12, 2020

A homeless man with a meat cleaver is accused of throwing items at passing cars on Highway 101 and, later that night, threatening Walmart employees and customers.

Brian Quaschnick, 48, a man who has become well known to local authorities, was booked at Clatsop County Jail in connection with the episodes Jan. 27 and Jan. 28.

Officers responding to a call for help from two drivers on Highway 101 south of Warrenton Kia spotted Quaschnick standing in the woods near the vehicles holding a large knife or meat cleaver, according to a probable cause declaration written by Sgt. James Pierce.

A female driver in a Toyota pickup and a male driver in a Volkswagen Passat both had damaged to their vehicles and told officers they’d pulled over after being hit by something sharp.

“They observed the male subject waving a large fixed-blade knife,” according to the declaration.

When the male driver confronted the man, he told the driver to pay him money he was owed.

As officers arrived, the man disappeared into the woods and they were unable to catch him.

About 10 ½ hours later, at 12:10 a.m., Walmart employees called police about a man who was refusing to leave the store.

“The suspect … was inside the store making comments to store employees stating that he was going to slash their throats and cut their heads off,” according to a second court document written by Pierce and Senior Officer Jeff Dalrymple.

The clerk attempted to keep the homeless man away from shoppers checking out at the register and was concerned he would use the cleaver on her or them, the officers wrote.

The man left the store after police were called and Pierce found him a short distance away near Costco.

“I overheard Sgt. Pierce (on the radio) state that Quaschnick had pulled a knife on him and that he had Quaschnick at gunpoint,” wrote Dalyrymple, who went to assist in the arrest.

Quaschnick was taken to Clatsop County Jail and has been charged with two counts of unlawful use of a weapon, menacing and interfering with a police officer.

Quaschnick had been released two weeks earlier pending a court hearing following his arrest for a Jan. 3 home intrusion burglary in the 100 block of West Harbor Street – in which he’d used a hammer to break glass in a door and entered a home while the occupant was inside. He was arrested in that case the following day during a disturbance call at First Street and Cedar Court.

A court hearing on the early January crimes is set for Feb. 20.

He also is a suspect in a series of fires set in homeless camps in December.

An arraignment for the more recent case was scheduled for 1:15 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6. Bail has been set at $25,000.

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