NewsState

Actions

Man with knife arrested after chasing teens who were fishing in his neighborhood

Florida resident captured on video chasing 15-year-old, his friend as they were leaving community
Waxler 530 pm pkg Man arrested.jpg
Posted at 4:32 PM, May 08, 2024

Luke Hatcher is typically fishing anytime he gets the chance, but after a frightening incident earlier this week, the 15-year-old is rethinking where he casts his line.

On Monday, Hatcher and his friend Tristen Smith were hunting for bass at a pond inside the gated Esplanade section of Tampa Bay's Starkey Ranch community. Then as they were leaving, the teens were confronted by an angry resident with a knife.

"I was about to ask to pet his dog too, but I waved hello to him," Hatcher said. "Next thing you know, without saying a word, he whips out his knife and starts cursing at me and starts chasing me around."

Hatcher pulled out his cell phone to record what was happening as both boys ran out of the neighborhood.

“He chased us the first time, and then in between it all, he decided to check the mail, took a mail break, and then decided to chase us again," he said.

Watch video of the man chasing after the two teenagers below.

Video of man with knife chasing teens who were fishing

The kids were able to remember that mailbox and relay the information to Pasco County Sheriff's deputies. They also showed deputies the video, leading to the arrest of the man with the knife, who was identified by authorities as Edward Cullum.

"The two things I thought right away are: I'm glad they ran away from him instead of engaging, and how brilliant it was to actually capture it on video," Hatcher's father Chris said.

Many neighborhoods often have issues about whether or not people can fish in ponds. It's legal in public water, but then there's the question of whether those fishing are trespassing on private property.

The HOA for Esplanade has a no-fishing rule, even for residents. Some in Esplanade say teens have been warned about trespassing before, while others in the neighborhood say there's no excuse for pulling a knife.

"There's no reason, no matter what they are doing, even if they are being disrespectful, which I wasn't. But a knife being pulled on somebody is too much for that," Hatcher said.

The boy admits they have been told not to fish in Esplanade before, and after this run-in, the kids don’t plan on going back.

This story was originally published by Erik Waxler on Scripps News Tampa.