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Video captures man swinging ax at teenage neighbor


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Editor's Note: The video is violent, but no blood or actual impact can be seen. The teen was not seriously hurt.MIDVALE — A man upset with a teenage neighbor about the way he was driving attempted to attack the teen with an ax in an incident caught on a cellphone camera.

Police say Phelan Silas, 23, was not happy with the way the teen was driving around 5 p.m. Monday near 200 West and Foxbridge Drive (8435 South) in Midvale.

“We don’t know exactly what that driving was that spurred the argument, but the neighbor came over and confronted the teenage male and a verbal argument ensued between the two,” Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal said.

The argument caught the attention another neighbor and his wife.

“We were just inside, watching TV, when we heard people yelling outside,” the man said, requesting that he not be identified. “From there, we went to the bedroom window to see what was going on.”

He said the man and teenager were in each other’s faces, screaming at each other.

“At first, we took out the phone just to take pictures of who was fighting,” the witness said. “The person across the street was already calling the police. We just wanted to get a picture of everyone that was participating in the yelling and screaming to show the police.”

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During the argument, police say Silas went home, grabbed an ax and then returned to continue arguing with the teen. That’s when the onlooker's wife started shooting video of the incident.

The witness said he saw Silas swinging the ax at the teen.

“For the first one, he ducked out of the way pretty good,” he said. “If he wouldn’t have, he would have had major injuries to his body.”

The video shows Silas advancing toward the teen, and just as the teen gets out of view, the man swings the ax a second time.

“The suspect in this case swung the ax at the juvenile, and ultimately the juvenile ducked to avoid being hit and was struck on his hand,” Hoyal said.

The teen received minor injuries. After he was injured, other neighbors and friends stepped in, at first fighting back, then eventually breaking it up and waiting for police to arrive.

"I never had any idea that it would escalate so fast, from being a verbal argument to someone swinging an ax at someone else," the witness said.

Silas was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of aggravated assault.

“You cannot go after somebody with an ax because you’re upset about the way they’re driving,” Hoyal said.

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Mike Anderson

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