OCEAN CITY — A Pennsylvania man was arrested for first-degree assault last weekend after allegedly pistol-whipping another man during an altercation.
Around 12:40 a.m. last Saturday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers were dispatched to a reported assault around 2nd Street and Baltimore Avenue. A witness reportedly told officers he witnessed a fight between two groups and captured a portion of the altercation on video.
Officers watched the video and observed Michael Taxacher, 29, of Connellsville, Pa., pointing an object later determined to be a handgun at a male victim, who had his hands raised and was holding what appeared to be a shoe, according to police reports.
While the victim was still standing with his hands raised, Taxacher allegedly walked toward the victim and struck him in the face with the handgun. Taxacher’s strike was a straight punch to the left eye with the front of the firearm. In the video, the victim is seen falling backward and remained on the ground for the entire segment, according to police reports.
In the video, Taxacher is seen walking away from the victim while carrying the handgun, according to police reports. Taxacher was located and detained. The victim sustained major injuries to his face and left eye and was transported to Atlantic General Hospital.
Before being transported, the victim was interviewed by Ocean City Police and admitted there had been a fight between he and Taxacher and other unknown males. The victim admitted at one point he pulled out a knife to defend himself because he feared for his life during the altercation. The victim could not remember at which point in the altercation he pulled out the knife, according to police reports.
Officers interviewed Taxacher, who reportedly told police he and his group, including their female companions, were walking home from a bar when they encountered the victim on the second-floor porch of his rental unit. Taxacher said words were exchanged and the victim came down from his porch, according to police reports.
Taxacher said there was modest scuffle on the ground and the victim pulled out a knife. Taxacher said his vehicle was parked about 50 feet away and he told his girlfriend to unlock it. Taxacher told police he opened the driver’s door and retrieved his handgun from the center console, according to police reports. Taxacher reportedly told police “I should have shot his [expletive deleted.]”
Taxacher reportedly told police the gun was loaded, but he didn’t keep a round in the chamber. Taxacher told officers he racked the slide of his firearm as he walked back toward the victim, according to police reports. Taxacher reportedly told police “I’m scared to take someone’s life, but the dude had a knife,” according to police reports. Taxacher reportedly told police he had his gun drawn on the victim, who appeared to be unphased by the presence of the firearm, and told officers, “He’s lucky to be alive,” according to police reports.
Taxacher admitted hitting the victim, but said he could not remember if he punched him with his hand or the weapon. After he hit the victim, Taxacher walked back to his vehicle and rendered the firearm safe by removing the magazine and racking the slide to remove a round from the chamber.
Officers obtained the keys to Taxacher’s vehicle and retrieved the Sig Sauer 9mm handgun. A check with communications revealed Taxacher was the registered owner of the weapon. According to police, the gun had blood splatter and human tissue on it. Taxacher was arrested and charged with first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and numerous weapons counts.