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Dispute over vomit cleanup spurs alleged hammer attack by carnival worker

Richard “Old Man Richard” Wareham

By Emily Welker / The Forum

FARGO – A carnival worker arrested last week for hitting a fellow employee at the Red River Valley Fair in the head with a hammer allegedly did so after the victim insisted he clean up a pile of vomit left on a ride by a fair-goer.

Richard “Old Man Richard” Wareham, 49, of Houston, Texas, was charged last week in Cass County District Court with one count of aggravated assault, a C felony.

According to court documents filed in the case, Cass County Deputy Jeff Arth was dispatched at 9:47 p.m. July 9 to a report of an assault with a hammer at the Red River Valley Fairgrounds in West Fargo.

Arth interviewed the man hit with the hammer, Jesus Geronimo Avila, 39, who said he was working on a ride he doesn’t normally work on, alongside a man nicknamed “Old Man Richard.”

Avila told the deputy that he confronted Wareham about not wanting to help clean up some vomit on the ride. The ride isn’t identified in court records.

According to Avila, he was putting away a broom when Wareham came after him with the hammer, hitting him in the head with it five times and leaving four lacerations, authorities allege in reports filed with the complaint.

Avila was taken to Sanford Medical Center after the alleged assault.

Wareham was taken to the Cass County Jail. His bail was set at $10,000 cash.

His next court appearance is set for Aug. 7.

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