Assault charge follows chainsaw showdown in Lakeville

Tree trimming can be a dangerous occupation — especially when tempers flare and a chainsaw is close at hand.

A heated verbal dispute between two tree trimmers in Lakeville on June 4 intensified into a confrontation with one of the men charging at the other with a chainsaw yelling “I’m going to kill you!” as the other man attempted to fend him off with a shovel, according to the criminal complaint.

The man wielding the chainsaw — 34-year-old Jason W. Schultz of Little Falls, Minn. — was booked into the Dakota County Jail following the incident and charged with felony assault.

Police were called to the 16700 block of Jalisco Terrace in Lakeville at about 5 p.m. June 4 on a report of two men fighting. Upon arrival, officers observed Schultz and another man arguing and separated them without incident before taking statements from each.

The other tree trimmer — identified in the complaint only by his initials — told police that Schultz had been in a tree cutting branches and throwing them down in the area where he was working. When he asked Schultz to stop throwing branches in his direction, Schultz got angry, using vulgar language and calling him a racial epithet.

Schultz got down out of the tree and the two men continued yelling at each other, the other tree trimmer reported. Schultz then grabbed a chainsaw and ran toward him yelling threats; Schultz, holding the chainsaw in an upright position, got within a couple feet, but no contact was made, with the other man using a shovel to defend himself.

In Schultz’s statement to police, he said he was “hot and upset” because the other man had been yelling at him while he was working. He admitted to police that he had chased his co-worker with a chainsaw, but alleged that the other man had “started it,” the complaint said.

Police also took statements from three independent witnesses, who all confirmed that Schultz had charged at the other tree trimmer with the chainsaw. One witness also described seeing Schultz throwing branches at the other man from the tree as well as yelling racial slurs.

If convicted of the assault charge, Schultz faces a maximum penalty of one year and one day in prison and a fine of $14,000.

Schultz remained in the Dakota County Jail as of Tuesday morning, awaiting transport to Morrison County on an unrelated warrant through that county’s sheriff’s office.