Transient accused of stabbing man with sharpened drumstick

Posted 7/19/23

A Port Townsend man is facing charges of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon and second-degree assault by strangulation after he allegedly got into a fight with another man at the Haines …

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Transient accused of stabbing man with sharpened drumstick


A Port Townsend man is facing charges of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon and second-degree assault by strangulation after he allegedly got into a fight with another man at the Haines Street Park-and-Ride and stabbed him in the face with a sharpened drumstick.

Derrick Mitchell Niven was booked into Jefferson County Jail Wednesday, July 12 and is being held on $11,500 bond.

Niven is facing two felony counts, and a charge of disorderly conduct, for the altercation last week. He also has additional charges pending from an earlier confrontation over a loose dog at a Port Townsend park.

Niven made his first appearance on the new charges in Jefferson County Superior Court Thursday.

Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Chris Ashcraft told Superior Court Judge Brandon Mack that Niven did not have a clear address and no apparent ties to the community.

Ashcraft said Niven was unlikely to appear in court if released, and that he appears to “wander around between Jefferson and Kitsap counties.”

Ashcraft sought bail of $10,000 for the assault charges, and Mack agreed.

Niven was arrested for a second time this month after three witnesses reported a fight in progress between two men at the Haines Street Park-and-Ride.

Officers arrived to find both men had been separated from each other, and both said the fight stemmed from an earlier altercation between the pair.

According to court documents, Niven yelled at the other man and provoked him.

Both of the men claimed the other threw the first punch, but authorities said Niven grabbed a sharpened drumstick and jabbed at the other man’s chest, and then jabbed him in the neck, face, head, and back.

Niven then allegedly got the other man in a choke hold, and Niven told police that he had kneeled across the other man’s neck, applying pressure, as Niven tried to “choke out” the other man, according to court documents.

Police found a bloody drumstick at the fight scene, and noted the stick had been sharpened on both ends.

When asked about the drumstick, Niven allegedly told officers it wasn’t sharpened to use as a weapon, but for use in chalk  art.

Niven admitted to stabbing the other man with the drumstick, and also said “he did not care that the choke [hold] could have killed” the other man, according to court documents.

Authorities said the fight happened in the bus turnaround lane at the park-and-ride, and that at least one bus had to be diverted due to the police and EMS response.


Niven is also facing charges of felony harassment-threats to kill from a dispute in the QFC parking lot five days before his most recent arrest.

An officer on patrol just after 6 a.m. Friday, July 7 was alerted by hospital security to a nearby disturbance at a small park on Sheridan Street.

The officer could hear Niven talking loud and angry, saying something to the effect of “I can hear you [expletive]. I’ve got my sticks out now, to [expletive] stab you in the [expletive eyes.”

The officer could see Niven holding two wooden drumsticks and pointing them across the park, according to court documents.

Niven told the officer he was transient and had spent the night in the park with his dog. After getting up and ready to move along for the day he put the dog into a small pet trailer that Niven tows behind his bike, and said he then saw a pit bull dog coming his way.

The dog had a collar and a leash on, but no one was holding the leash.

Niven told the officer his dog was afraid of pit bulls, so he put his foot down hard and the dog stopped.


A man and woman soon approached, and Niven told the pair to get control of their dog, according to court papers.

The woman began to yell at Niven, he said, and he started yelling back. The man who was with the woman started yelling, too, and Niven said he was holding a baseball bat in a threatening manner and waving it around.

The pair got the dog and left, Niven said, but they came back without the bat and started yelling again. Niven said he took knives from his backpack in case he had to use them, and the man also showed him that he had a knife.

Niven said the man also threatened to beat him up.

The standoff ended after another woman came up to the trio. She told police she had been sleeping in her vehicle in the QFC parking lot and the yelling nearby had woken her up. She came over to stop Niven from yelling, and found the trio all yelling at each other, with the woman with the dog threatening to have her pit bull attack Niven.

The woman’s companion told the officer they had been taking the dog for a walk when the dispute began, and that he had a baseball bat so he could use it to hit balls for the dog to chase.

When the officer talked to the woman with the dog, she said that Niven had made death threats, and he said he was going to “[expletive] slit my throat, slit his throat, and kill my dog.”

“He seems kinda psycho,” she told the officer, according to court documents.


The officer noted that while the woman and man with the dog had come back to re-engage unnecessarily with Niven, it was Niven who was the only one to make a threat with a weapon, and the only person who made death threats.

And when the officer pointed out to Niven that what he had said was “extreme,” Niven allegedly responded, “Good!”

At an initial appearance in court Friday, Niven was charged with the two additional felony counts of harassment-threats to kill.

His arraignment on those two charges has been set for Friday, July 21.