Haverhill Man Allegedly Pulls Machete on Teens After Convenience Store Spat

(File photograph.)

A Haverhill man who became irate at a city teen for stepping on his shoe found himself in legal hot water last week after police say he allegedly waved a machete at the boy when he wouldn’t apologize for his behavior.

Officer John Orsillo was dispatched to High Street for report of a disturbance at 3:30 p.m. on Labor Day Monday, Sept. 2 and met with two teens and their stepmother outside of the High Street Market convenience store. The boys told Orsillo a man, later determined to be 33-year-old Sotha Voeun, had an argument with them that began inside the store when one of the teens allegedly stepped on Voeun’s shoe and did not apologize. Calling police in fear for her sons’ safety, the boys’ stepmother told police Voeun left the store and allegedly returned with a machete in hand.

According to Orsillo, the boys’ stepmother said Voeun “returned to the area carrying what appeared to be a machete and was screaming at the boys. He began swinging the machete…and called them out asking to fight.”

Police said the man never crossed the street to go back into the supermarket, but the teens were both “in fear” that he was going to “attack them” with the three foot long black and red machete.

When police met up with Voeun to hear his side of the story, Voeun said he went to the High Street Market to purchase cigarettes and one of the teens stepped on his shoe while he was waiting in the checkout line. Seeking an apology, Voeun confronted the boy, and told police he heard the duo mention they planned to “call a friend to ‘jump’ him.” Fearing for his own safety, he went to his home across the street to get the machete.

Voeun—who stands 5-feet tall and weighs 140 pounds—told police he brought the weapon to area near the market but said he never approached the teens with it, and returned it back to his home. The weapon was later seized by police.

At his Haverhill District Court arraignment, Voeun was released on his own recognizance by Judge Mary McCabe and ordered to stay away and have no contact with the victims. His case continues in early October.

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