York County man accused of brandishing hatchet, spraying State Police troopers with pepper spray

YORK COUNTY — A 31-year-old Red Lion man is facing a felony charge of aggravated assault, multiple misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance and assault counts, and related summary offenses after allegedly brandishing a hatchet and spraying pepper spray at several State Police troopers who were investigating a domestic disturbance, according to a court documents.

Joel Edward Kirckhoff, of the 100 block of N. Main St., was charged on July 10, according to a criminal complaint affidavit filed by State Police.

Police say they were dispatched to North Main Street for a welfare check on a woman living with Kirckhoff. One day earlier, police say, the woman left a note at her workplace documenting recent domestic issues between her and Kirckhoff.

The victim was on her front porch when police arrived at the home, and told the troopers she had left a note with Kirckhoff telling him to leave her home the day before. Kirckhoff had not complied with the request, the victim reported.

While troopers were speaking to the victim, Kirckhoff, who was inside the home, slammed the front door closed and locked it, police say. He was allegedly brandishing an unknown object — later determined to be a hatchet — in his hand, police say.

The victim used a key to enter the home, but Kirckhoff allegedly attempted to prevent the troopers from entering by blocking the door, police say. He then pushed his hand through a gap in the door and sprayed pepper spray at police, according to the criminal complaint.

Police eventually got inside, and Kirckhoff dropped the hatchet and pepper spray and attempted to flee, police say. He was cornered in another room of the home and taken into custody.

The victim told police Kirckhoff was in possession of illegal drugs and paraphernalia, which was hidden in the home. He allegedly told the victim he would “destroy her” and that he would “take her down with him,” according to the complaint.

Police say they obtained a search warrant for the home, and a search located the hatchet and pepper spray, along with a glass water pipe, a fake water bottle with a hidden compartment, and a black lock box containing drug paraphernalia, marijuana, THC wax, psychedelic mushrooms, and a digital scale.

Kirckhoff was charged with aggravated assault, three counts of possession of a controlled substance, terroristic threats, simple assault, harassment, and disorderly conduct, police say.

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