Couple say sidewalk sleeper threatened them with a hatchet

An Auburn man and woman say they were walking their dogs on Auburn’s East Main Street during the early evening hours Jan. 15, when a man they’d just noticed sleeping on the sidewalk and asked to move along allegedly threatened to dice them up with a hatchet.

On Jan. 20, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged Gary Counts, 42, with one count of felony harassment.

Court papers list Counts’ last known address as Ione, a small city in Pend Oreille County in Eastern Washington.

Here is what happened, according to the Auburn Police Department’s Certification for Determination of Probable Cause.

As the victims, who were roommates, later told police, they were walking their dog near 205 E. Main Street when they noticed a man sleeping on the sidewalk nearby.

According to what the man told police, he woke the sleeping Counts and told him “to move him along” because Counts was on private property, and he “was tired of transient and narcotics use in the area.”

At that point, according to the documents, the two men began arguing, and while they were jawing, Counts allegedly pulled a hatchet from his bag, held it over his head and began to follow the man and woman, threatening as he approached to within 20 feet to “hatch [them] up.”

Believing that Counts meant to carry through with his threat, the man and woman backed up toward B Street Northwest, whereupon, court papers say, Counts allegedly returned to his belongings, put away the hatchet and left on foot toward Safeway.

According to documents, Counts later admitted to investigating police that, yes, he had pulled hatchet on the victims, but said he had not made any threats. According to documents, Counts also allegedly admitted to throwing a hatchet over a fence nearby, which police found later.

According to the documents, the hatchet had a 12-inch blade.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Hannah Godwin asked a Superior Court Judge to set bail at $15,000 in accordance with the amount set by King County District Court at Counts’ first appearance because of the likelihood that he would commit a violent offense if he were released.