Brooks Reports on the Hammer Attack
February 1, 2000
This morning Mark
Bunker went with German film maker Peter Reichelt and Hans Michael
Kassel, director of documentary film for the German TV station ARD,
to Gottfried Helmwein's house on Palm Bluffs Road, about a mile and
a half north of 33 N. Ft. Harrison. Gottfried is a Scientology
artist in Germany who has apparently been denying he is a
Scientologist, and Peter and Hans Michael were here gathering
documentary footage to prove he is an active Scientologist.
Peter asked Mark to go with them to Gottfried's house so Mark could
video them walking up to the door of the house and knocking on the
door. They had consulted with Wayne Shuler, the Clearwater Police
Public Affairs Officer, about what they could and could not legally
do, and they followed his direction to the letter.
Mark was videotaping, a man ran out of Gottfried's house and
assaulted Mark with a hammer. He hit Mark's camera twice but luckily
did not hurt Mark, although Mark was extremely frightened and shaken
when this man ran at him and struck him with a dangerous weapon.
Fortunately Mark was able to get the assault on videotape and it
will be available on Xenu-TV in about an hour.
man then went back into the front door of Gottfried's house, and
soon after that two police officers arrived. One of them, Officer
Holsombach, works for the Church of Scientology at the white lines
on Watterson Avenue as a paid gun to harass the staff of the Lisa
McPherson Trust in his off hours. Mark spoke to the other one,
Officer Kelly, and told him that a man had just assaulted him with a
hammer and asked the officer if he wanted to see it on videotape.
But Officer Kelly ignored what Mark was telling him. Instead, he
asked Mark if he had informed the man that he was audiotaping him.
Taken aback by the question, Mark replied that he had not. Then
Officer Kelly told Mark that he was going to arrest him for
audiotaping the hammer-wielding man without his knowledge!
that point Mark called me and told me he was about to be arrested. I
jumped in my car and went down to Gottfried's house. When I got
there I saw two police cars and Mark, Peter and Hans Michael with
the two police officers. There was also another elderly man that I
didn't know. He turned out to be a groundskeeper for the Helmvein
approached Mark, but Officer Kelly told me to stay away. He was
extremely unpleasant and I was afraid he really was going to arrest
Mark. He was writing a report, and I saw that his hand was shaking
uncontrollably. He was obviously extremely distraught.
Peter was trying to talk to Officer Kelly but I could see that it
was just getting him more and more aggravated and upset, so I told
Peter to be quiet and let this police officer calm down, otherwise
Mark was going to be arrested. The atmosphere was very highly
charged and I was very worried about how Mark was going to be
treated by these officers. They were obviously biased against Mark
because they were doing nothing to apprehend the man who had
assaulted Mark. Officer Kelly told Mark he knew he was part of LMT,
and he asked the two Germans if they were also part of LMT.
Fortunately within a few minutes Sergeant John Zegzdryn arrived on
the scene. I have had dealings with Sergeant Zegzdryn before and
know that he is a fair, unbiased police officer. I was greatly
relieved when he arrived.
Officer Kelly conferred with Sergeant Zedzdryn and then beckoned for
Mark, Peter and Hans Michael to go across the street to talk to him.
I started to cross with them but Officer Kelly rudely ordered me to
stay away. I stopped but was still able to hear what he was saying
to them. He told them that he could arrest them right then and there
and that they better not go anywhere near the particular property
again or he would arrest them. He then had the groundskeeper
officially notify them that they were trespassing and that they were
not wanted there.
Officer Kelly was telling them that they could be arrested, he was
addressing his comments particularly to Mark. When the groundskeeper
gave them the official warning, he wasn't concerned about Mark at
all and directed his statement to the two Germans who had actually
walked up to the door of the house, while Mark had stayed on the
public sidewalk. But Officer Kelly was pointedly directing his
communication to Mark.
Officer Kelly released them and told them they were free to go.
was apparently all that was going to be done until Mark protested
that nothing had been done about the man who had assaulted him with
Sergeant Zegzdryn called Officer Kelly across the street again and
he then approached Mark to see if he wanted to file a complaint
about the man with the hammer. Sergeant Zegzdryn was the first one
who was willing to watch the videotape of the assault. Officer Kelly
hadn't even been interested in looking at it. Mark said absolutely
yes, he wanted the man arrested. The officers then spent time taking
reports from everyone who had been there, and Mark repeated several
times that he wanted the man arrested. But the police officers then
told us that they were not going to arrest the man, that they were
going to refer the matter to the state attorney's office.
argued with the sergeant about this at length, but in the end that
was his decision. He did allow Mark to make a copy of the videotape
though. Sergeant Zegzdryn brought the original videotape to our
office and witnessed Mark making a copy of the part of the tape that
showed the assault. Jesse and I were also witnesses, because
Sergeant Zegzdryn was concerned that there could be questions about
whether the tape had been altered. But I called Denis deVlaming, our
criminal attorney, and he said to have the sergeant witness the
dubbing and that would suffice. So that is what we did.
has already spoken to Doug Crowe in the state attorney's office and
made it clear that we expect aggravated assault charges against this
just found out that the man who assaulted Mark with the hammer is
named Richard Bernard.
and Depos General