Florida Man Threatens Census Worker with Pickax
TAMPA, Fla. - A 65-year old man is facing an aggravated battery charge, accused of attacking a census worker with a pickax.
Police say the alleged incident occurred in front of Willie Thigpen's apartment in North Tampa.
Investigators believe the census worker, 52-year old Gregory Sijesta, was walking through the neighborhood door to door when he encountered a very upset Thigpen.
"He confronted the worker then went out to his car and pulled out a 10-pound pickax, and threatened him with it and tried to hit him with it," said Tampa Police spokeswoman Laura McElroy.
Keywonia Broxton lives in an apartment next to the suspect's and says the census worker visited her the day before on Sunday.
"He identified himself and he was a really nice guy," said Broxton.
She also says her grandmother volunteered to let the census worker park in their parking lot when he returned the next day to finish collecting information from neighbors.
"We let him know he could park on our driveway cause he wasn't done on the block," said Broxton.
She believes that may be what led to the altercation Monday when the census worker returned but parked his vehicle possibly in Thigpen's spot.
"He just really big on people not parking on his little spot. Don't park in his spot or he'll get upset," said Broxton of her neighbor.
Thigpen was released from jail, but was not at home Tuesday evening to discuss the case. Sijesta, the census worker involved in Monday's incident, was not injured.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports in the year 2000, nearly 180 assaults were reported against their workers. A census volunteer was also killed that year after being attacked by a pack of dogs while trying to make contact with the owners of a rural home in Indiana.
Around a dozen census worker attacks have been reported so far this year including one involving a cross bow.