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Friday, April 19, 2024

Knife-wielding man, woman threaten children at Ocala park, police say

A man and woman from Marion County are behind bars after they were accused of threatening several children with a knife at a park in Ocala.

On January 15, an OPD officer made contact with an Ocala Recreation and Parks Ranger who advised that three individuals were “just at the park chasing a group of kids around with a knife,” according to the arrest report.

The park where the incident occurred was not specified in the report.

The officer made contact with a relative of the four juvenile victims who advised that the children were walking around the playground when they were “interrupted” by an adult man and two adult women. The report stated that the man was later identified as 24-year-old Dunnellon resident Christopher Emmet Stricker, and one of the women was later identified as 24-year-old Silver Springs resident Ashley Scott.

Christopher Emmet Stricker and Ashley Scott
Christopher Emmet Stricker (left) and Ashley Scott (right)

The victims told the officer that Stricker, Scott, and the other unidentified woman were “staring at them” when Stricker pulled out a knife. As he was saying something to the victims, Scott grabbed the knife and began to chase the victims while laughing, according to the report.

After the incident, the victims ran to their relative, who was at a nearby store getting them snacks. The relative returned to the incident location and made contact with the park ranger.

One of the victims had recorded the incident on their cellphone. The officer viewed this footage and noted in the report that Stricker “pull(ed) a knife out of his pocket and pointed it at the (victims).” He then told the victims that they had “about five seconds to get the (expletive) outta here.”

Scott then proceeded to grab the knife from Stricker’s hand, and she ran towards the four victims. The victims told the officer that they ran away during the incident because they were scared that they were going to get stabbed, according to the report.

The ranger advised the officer that Stricker, Scott, and the unidentified woman claimed that the victims were “throwing gang signs at them,” which made them feel “threatened.” In the report, the officer noted that the video recording of the incident “did not match this story at all.”

A witness was able to positively identify Scott as one of the women involved in the incident. The report stated that Scott agreed to meet with the officer at OPD Headquarters (402 S Pine Avenue) the following day, and she brought Stricker with her to the police station.

After being read his Miranda rights, Stricker denied owning a knife. When he was shown the video footage of the incident, he claimed that the knife “wasn’t his.”

During a separate post-Miranda interview, Scott initially denied that a knife was involved. After watching the video footage of the incident, she stated that “the knife wasn’t open.”

Stricker and Scott were both arrested and transported to Marion County Jail, where they are currently being held on $5,000 bond. They are both being charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Jail records show that Stricker and Scott are scheduled to appear in court at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, February 20. They have both entered a written plea of “not guilty.”