Man arrested for allegedly attacking Buckhannon Walmart employee

BUCKHANNON – A Buckhannon man is being held on a $30,000 cash-only bond after allegedly assaulting a Walmart employee who had just returned from lunch.

Austin Arbogast, 22, was arrested Monday for malicious assault and strangulation, both felonies.

According to the criminal complaint in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s Office filed by investigating officer Patrolman First Class Angel McCauley with the Buckhannon Police Department, on Jan. 3, 2022, McCauley responded to Walmart in reference to an assault. The E911 Upshur County Comm Center advised the victim was bleeding from the head.

Upon arrival, McCauley met Walmart management and employees at the grocery-side entrance by the vestibule. According to the file, when police arrived, the victim was sitting against the wall bleeding from the head and had a “visible knot next to his left eye and minor skin lacerations to his right elbow and forehead.” The victim also had two to three small lacerations to the back of his head.

The victim and other witnesses identified Arbogast as the aggressor. According to a statement from other employees cited in the police report, the victim had returned from lunch when he was approached by Arbogast who realized the victim was “who he was looking for” and started punching the victim several times, the file says. While the victim was on the ground, Arbogast allegedly kicked him in the stomach, the face and the head.

During this time, Arbogast allegedly put his arm around the victim’s neck in what Arbogast later referred to as a “neck restraint” in a signed written confession, McCauley noted in the report.

When the victim was later interviewed at St. Joseph’s Hospital, he stated he remembered feeling dizzy, not being able to breathe and almost passing out when Arbogast’s arm was around his neck, the police report states. The extent of the victim’s injuries were unknown as of Monday.

Witnesses told police that during the assault, Arbogast struck the victim multiple times repeatedly, delivering “18 punches, one kick to the stomach, one stomp to the face, one stomp to the head, three elbow strikes, two punches and two elbows to the back of the victim’s head,” the complaint says.

Upshur County Magistrate Alan Suder set bail at $30,000 cash only and Arbogast remained incarcerated as of Tuesday evening, according to the W.Va. Regional Jail and Correctional Authority Facility website.

The penalty for a conviction of malicious assault is confinement in a state correctional facility for not less than two years nor more than 10 years. In addition, the penalty for a conviction of strangulation is imprisonment in the penitentiary for not less than one year nor more than five years, a fine of up to $2,500 or both fined and confined.

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